2020 EcoCareers Conference

April 1-2, 2020

Thank you for making the National Wildlife Federation's EcoCareers Conference 2020 our most successful green careers conference yet! 



The following 2020 Conference Downloads are available:
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Follow-Up Questions and Answers:

As mentioned during the conference, we collected the questions that we were unable to ask during the conference and sent them to the speakers and panelists. Thanks to all of the generous time and information provided by all who responded! Click on the panels below to see the responses from each of the following speakers:

Q: Not specifically about the prework, but I do have a question about career planning -- one of the panelists mentioned yesterday that there are not enough jobs in sustainability for the people who want to work in this field. How can we work to create more opportunities for others? Is starting our own business the only way? Is it even possible to start my own business with very little experience?

A: First, there are many opportunities to do this work -- it may be in a formal position with a title or responsibilities that list "sustainability" or "green" or "environmental". However, there also are many, many people who have made a role that isn't formally a sustainability one into one that incorporates it. Green America and others have termed it "Greening Your Job"

For example, asking to establish a recycling committee, or organizing a volunteer day to plant trees, or being the representative from your office on a task force considering some aspect of sustainability. And it's possible that this could provide the foundation later on to move into a role that more formally incorporates sustainability.

Second, there are also many positions that are adapting to the growing call for "green" -- see this recent article from Career One Stop, a program from the US Department of Labor

There also are many positions opening in the renewables sector -- see this recent New York Times article

Third, starting your own business is an option. It may be valuable to begin as a small project on the side and grow it slowly, given the current economic climate, while being employed in a full-time position to pay your bills. As a first step, most local governments have an Economic Development office, which can point you towards free resources relative to starting a company. It's important to do your homework in advance as starting a company is a big step. Prior to making any business decisions, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual circumstances. Good luck and thank you for your enthusiasm and dedication to our field!


Q: Those are impressive career paths. How were you successfully able to navigate finding non-linear opportunities in changes in your career?

A: I think what was important for me was understanding what I was able to take away from each job and how it added to my personal narrative. No job is a waste if you are able to take something away from it that you can add to your toolkit – the challenge is how do you weave that into a compelling narrative when you are talking about your career arc. For instance, my time in Germany doing research helped me develop cross-cultural engagement skills and network that I have been able to apply in my current position when I am trying to develop relationships with leading smart city programs in Europe. Or my time developing workshops and knowledge exchanges while at GMF have allowed me to help facilitate understanding of complex concepts to community members in Charlotte, NC. I think it’s also important to continually assess where you are in your career path and where you have deficiencies – do you need more experience managing budgets? Do you want more experience in project management? Community engagement? Then you can look for jobs that provide you with those skillsets, which can sometimes be content agnostic. For me it was important that my positions exist within an urban space because that is what I am most passionate about. But within that urban space, I’ve dealt with energy transition, waste, public spaces, landscape design, construction documents, etc.

Q: Can you provide some tips for increasing stakeholder buy-in for circular economy initiatives?

A: Where I have found success for increasing stakeholder buy-in is when I have sat down and tried to understand what that specific audience is looking for and how can I adapt my “pitch” to that perspective. A lot of times when I have discussed circular economy, my focus has not been on the environmental component, but more so on the economic impact – job creation, a new economic revenue stream, etc. How can you make this a win-win for everyone you want to have involved? In Charlotte I was able to get the City and City Manager on board looking at it from a job creation and innovation driver, we got communities on board because we talked about the job opportunities and that we would work to create training programs that hire hard to employ or under-skilled individuals in certain targeted neighborhoods, we got environmental advocates on board because this was a new perspective to help them achieve their goals of reducing waste and improving air quality.

Q: I would love to hear more about Emily's experience starting her own consultancy!

A; It’s a grind, but I think I could only do it after I have been working in the professional space for so many years. A key reason I was able to start was because of the expansive network I had been able to develop – so I was able to connect with folks in this space who could provide guidance, folks who could connect me to opportunities, and folks who gave me opportunities because they knew me and my quality of work. I would also say that if you start your company and you are reaching out to folks, be *very clear* about what your ask or need is. Don’t waste their valuable time just to chat because that might mean the next time you reach out they won’t be as inclined to help you.

Q: My Zero Waste team and the campus culinary (including catering) are currently discussing ways to streamline the process and make the on campus culinary program more efficient with their resources. One item they're compiling is a green events guide, what tips do you have for hosting "green events"?

A: I don’t have much expertise in this space, but if I were looking to develop guidance for hosting green events, I would look up other organizations (more likely in Europe since they’ve been doing this for a while) and copy things that they have done. I would also work to develop a relationship with a composting company and a company that distributes green cutlery and dishes, and then incentivize folks to use them to help host zero waste events. BlueCity in Rotterdam hosts zero waste events – I don’t know if they have information available, but perhaps that could be a place to start.

Q: what advice would you offer in terms of types of jobs that students should pursue right after college?

A: I think most important is to find a job that excites you and is a space where you can learn. It’s not going to be your forever job and there is a solid chance your career will go in a different direction than what you plan. So, if you can learn and be excited, I think that’s a win.

Q: How do we encourage governmental officials to take action on behalf of a city/townships or even national residents? Climate change starts with them but they don't take action.

A: Local governments are full of public servants that want to do right by their constituents so local advocates are incredibly powerful at the local level because they can make these issues personal. Using social media to start these conversations can be extremely effective. Also, don’t hesitate to reach out not only to leadership, but tap into the subject matter experts. These individuals are extremely passionate, and can be great emissaries to affect positive change!

Q: I have a BS in Environmental Biology... Can I get into this field through the right experience or do I need to go back to school?

A: My personal belief is that college is to get you your first job. After that, it’s up to you! Many of the best and strongest policy folks in our agency are those individuals with subject matter expertise in science, technology, and design. However, it’s likely that if you enter the field without the advanced degree, you may spend the same amount of years that you would have been in school, learning on the job. This is a good idea for many as you start earning a paycheck instead of accumulating additional college debt.

Q: Is the DC Green Bank available to non-DC residents to open a personal account?

A: The first rule of green banks is that they are not a bank. It’s clearly confusing, but they are a financial institution whose key mission is to use a limited amount of public funding to leverage private capital and accelerate investment for clean energy and energy efficiency projects. Green banks make loans and support other financial products, but they do not take deposits and typically don’t have the same structures or protections as consumer banks. The DC Green Bank has additional restrictions per its enabling legislation where it cannot be the main loan holder for projects outside of the District.

Q: How do you recommend getting one's resume/application to stand out at large companies where it will likely be screened out electronically like ICF? (For example, I have contacts there whom I have reached out to though ICF is so large they don't know any of the hiring managers in that sector.)

A: My first recommendation is to always include a cover letter, and make it personal. Talk about why you are the best fit for the position and use specific examples about your experience. Second, when applying for positions online (as opposed to submitting a resume to a specific person or hiring manager) be sure to edit your resume to include key words that were included in the position description. Many of the large companies and local governments have resume screening systems that look for those key words and it is important to get past the initial screening process. Finally, it’s always best to find an advocate. If you have a contact at a company you’re looking to get hired at, reach out and express your interest in the position. It may not help, but never hurts!

Q: Can we mail you things so you can thrift them?

A: Sure, we always encourage folks to look for reuse opportunities in their own communities, but if there isn't a way to reuse locally (yet!), we can also take donations by mail and will be delighted to find new homes for your unused treasures.

Q: What's your advice for people who want to reuse things but aren't into arts & crafts? Donate them to place/organizations that are like ACR? Thank-you.

A: Great question - at ACR, we focus on creative materials, but there are lots of organizations doing similar reuse work with other types of materials. It may take some effort to find a good fit, but hopefully, you'll agree it's worth it. We encourage folks to donate/shop reuse locally, but for some specialized materials, you may have to look further afield. Do your research and ask questions if it's not clear where the materials ultimately end up. Personally, I'm also a big fan of my local Buy Nothing Group (https://buynothingproject.org/) which may also be a good place to look.

Q: Hi, I am a recent graduate and looking for opportunities to build mentoring relationships -- I'd love to hear anyone's success stories or advice on this!

A: Remember that a great mentor doesn't only have to come from your field (or the field where you want to end up). Sometimes your best advice and new ideas can come from someone with a completely different perspective or set of experiences. I suggest casting a wide net and when you meet someone you connect with, consider them as a potential mentor even if they're outside of your professional circle. Good luck!

Q: How did you get started in your current work? What was your spark for applying the arts on environmental issues?

A: I've worked my entire career in the environmental field (as a scientist, then lawyer, now non-profit director), but I came to ACR when I was looking for an opportunity to join a non-profit board. I am not an artist (or even very creative), but I value the arts, and this was a unique opportunity for me to apply my specific skills to support the arts in my community.

Q: Hi I am a student at Colgate University studying Environmental Science. What are some examples of organizations that are diverting a stream of money into alternative energy industries and regional recycling (private sector)?

A: Generate Capital is a private equity firm based in San Francisco that invested $5 million in microgrids at six K-12 schools in Salinas, CA. They structured the deal so that the school district would spend the same amount per kilowatt-hour, Generate Capital would receive a nice return on investment, and six schools received solar, batteries, inverters and wireless thermostat controls. This combination of technologies allows the systems to shift loads so the schools can buy electricity when it’s cheaper and use stored electricity when it’s more expensive.

Ecologic is a company in Manteca, California, that recycles paper and plastic into new consumer packaging. The molded fiber outer shell is made from 70% recycled corrugated cardboard and 30% newspaper. The inner liner is made from either #2 plastic, #4 plastic, or bioplastic. Their bottles are used to package wine, food, pet care, home care, and personal care products. This is an example of a company, not a regional recycling network.

I would like to see more materials recycled on a regional basis. We have been shipping recyclable materials to China for so long that we have let many of our domestic recycling industries atrophy for decades. Now that China is rejecting recyclables from the US, we have the opportunity to invest in our own recycling industries. The Closed Loop Infrastructure Fund, put together by a collection of large consumer product companies, is giving loans and grants in the US to fund recycling infrastructure. It’s not nearly enough funding to create robust recycling infrastructure but it’s a start. More public-private partnerships will be needed to build out an infrastructure that can handle the wastes the residential and commercial sectors generate.

Q: How do we encourage governments to perform what you identified as the Vital Roles for government?

A: Government serves three vital roles in encouraging green job creation: setting goals, developing ordinances, and levying and disbursing externality fees. Writing our elected representatives and encouraging them to enact legislation and ordinances is how we encourage them. Based on conversations I’ve had with staff for my congressional representative, state senator, state assembly member, and city council, they appreciate you doing your homework. If you can describe the solution you propose, show that it’s already been implemented successfully elsewhere, explain who your allies are, talk about who might oppose it and why, explain who your proposal could negatively affect, and elaborate on how it could be funded, you will have a better chance of them wanting to take your idea and run with it.

Q: Would the Green New Deal be an effective way to stream money to sustainable industries?

A: The proposals I’ve seen for the Green New Deal involve the federal government printing money to pay for green job creation. This seemed unlikely to happen until the pandemic started, millions of people lost their jobs, and 17 million people filled for unemployment in the past few weeks. Now that Congress is talking about another round of stimulus funding which could be used for public works projects, this is the perfect time to contact your elected representatives at the federal and state level and suggest they create millions of new green jobs.

This pandemic has created a huge shock to our population and our economy. It has shone a light on how vulnerable our health care system is and how many people don’t have health insurance. We have seen how unprepared we are for big shocks. There will be more in the future. Now is the time to build more resilient systems (energy, transportation, supply chains, food) that can bounce back more easily from shocks like wildfires, hurricanes, and other natural disasters, not to mention future pandemics. In the process of building more resilient systems, the people who will do this work will enjoy a sense of meaning and purpose.

Q: How do we encourage governmental officials to take action on behalf of a city/townships or even national residents? Climate change starts with them but they don't take action.

A: Not easy. Ideally run for office yourself or find others who are progressive/have good climate ideas/solutions and support them as candidates. The bigger changes we need will likely need new elected officials leading the charge.

Q: What are the most sought out skills that you're looking for recent graduates (from undergrad)?

A: Strong writing skills and attention to detail plus relevant experience in the field through projects, internships, etc. Unfortunately, I'd say at least 90% of our applicants aren't the strongest when it comes to written communication and/or attention to detail.

Q: I have a BS in Environmental Biology... Can I get into this field through the right experience or do I need to go back to school?

A: I don't know the answer to that but you can probably get an idea by looking up people on LinkedIn in positions that you'd eventually like to be in and seeing how many have graduate degrees. If nearly everyone does, then you probably need a master's degree. If only half or even 2/3s have graduate degrees than that shows that it is definitely possible/feasible. I wouldn't go back to grad school unless you are genuinely excited about it since it takes a lot of time/costs a lot of money and may not be worth it.

Q: How do you recommend getting one's resume/application to stand out at large companies where it will likely be screened out electronically like ICF? (For example, I have contacts there whom I have reached out to though ICF is so large they don't know any of the hiring managers in that sector.)

A: No magic solution on this but honestly I'd focus on a strong cover letter where you reference specific ICF projects/published reports that you admire and why you are excited/interested in them and how you'd like to be part of different teams at ICF that work on those type of projects and what kind of skills/background you'd bring that could contribute to a positive outcome for ICF and the client.

Q: My Zero Waste team and the campus culinary (including catering) are currently discussing ways to streamline the process and make the on campus culinary program more efficient with their resources. One item they're compiling is a green events guide, what tips do you have for hosting "green events"?

A: ideas for green events: vegan food only, ideally local, ideally organic. no disposables for food and beverages, separate remaining waste, aim for zero waste; no printouts; no short-term banners or flyers; create something you can use longer term such as a flyer for 2 years or a banner for longer; don't provide parking; offer discounts for people coming with their bike or bus or walk; avoid speakers coming by car or even plane, have people dial-in. Think about an outdoor gathering, can be a nice change. I have organized tons of events, none of which were 100% green. This is a process. Happy to discuss further.

Q: What advice would you offer in terms of types of jobs that students should pursue right after college?

A: I think it's great if they can work as staffer for a policy maker for a while, or work with AmeriCorps or ClimateCorps.

Q: I'm curious to know what, in panelists' experience, are the most common skills that nonprofits are looking for and need most commonly? (And sorry for all the questions, I know we won't be able to get to them in the live stream but I wanted to add these in case they can be addressed later!)

A: Understanding of the subject matter and politics involved, ability to write, ability to speak, ability to work, take on responsibilities and be proactive.

Q: In the nonprofit sector, is the traditional pathway to start out as an intern rather than a full-time position?

A: yes, internships are very common, but this is not a requirement and I am not a big fan of this approach. especially unpaid internships are highly unsocial.

Q: I love TerraCycle and have used it before!! is the recycled material cheaper for companies to use/manufacture as opposed to their normal materials?

A: TerraCycle's recycling program doesn't ask companies to change the material of their packaging but rather offers a solution to recycle the material. TerraCycle then finds end markets for the recycled material, which is available for the brands to use in innovative ways as well.

Q: Does Terracycle have a collection program for Tetra Pak types of cartons? Few places accept them beyond some urban centers. I have looked at Terracycle and have not seen a collection option for these.

A: TerraCycle does recycle Tetra Pak. You can find a Zero Waste Box on our website for this waste stream. Currently I don't believe there is a brand-sponsored national recycling program for free collection, but we are adding new programs all the time so, once there is a brand interested in such a program, it would be launched.

Q: Hello! I am an environmental science major at American University. I am wondering how we can become more involved with Loop and get the word out. Are outside coupons accepted? Also, are you looking for any brand ambassadors or interns?

A: We don't currently work with student ambassadors, though you are welcome to share Loop to any of your social platform and it would be much appreciated. For internships, please apply via LinkedIn or the TerraCycle website.

Q: How are you going to reduce the consumer's product costs? I heard it cost around $20-30 to buy regular goods.

A: Product prices are generally comparable to current prices, though some may be at a premium to begin with. Over time, as Loop begins to scale and there are more operational efficiencies, product price will be able to go down. In addition to the product prices, each product has a deposit that a consumer puts down for the use of the packaging and receives a full refund upon returning the packaging. This allows us to collect the packaging back for reuse at no extra cost to the consumer.

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Distinguished Keynote:
Mustafa Santiago Ali, NWF
Distinguished Keynote:
Jennifer Allen Aroz, League of Conservation Voters
A renowned thought leader, international speaker, policy maker, community liaison, trainer, and facilitator, Dr. Mustafa Santiago Ali serves as the Vice President of Environmental Justice, Climate, and Community Revitalization for the National Wildlife Federation. He is also the founder of Revitalization Strategies, a business focused on moving our most vulnerable communities from “surviving to thriving.”
  Jennifer Allen Aroz joined the League of Conservation Voters in 2013 to develop Chispa (“spark” in Spanish), a program aimed at building the voice and power of Latino families and leaders in the fight against climate change. With grassroots community organizing programs operating in Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Nevada, New Mexico and Maryland, Chispa has become one of the largest efforts of a national environmental organization focused on Latino communities.
Author Spotlight:
Justine Burt, Founder and CEO, Appraccel
Acclaimed Career Coach:
Beth Offenbacker, Waterford, Inc.
Justine Burt is the Founder + CEO of Appraccel, an environmental sustainability consulting firm in the San Francisco Bay Area. She works with clients in the private, public and non-profit sector to successfully implement projects in energy efficiency, alternative transportation, and waste prevention. The Great Pivot: Creating Meaningful Work to Build a Sustainable Future, published in March 2019, is her first book. Available through Amazon, Ingram, and Smashwords; The Great Pivot describes 30 sustainability projects in five areas – advanced energy communities, low-carbon mobility, the circular economy, food waste reduction, and nature restoration – that will create millions of meaningful jobs.    Dr. Beth Offenbacker’s expertise, experience, and passion for people, the planet, and performance is what distinguishes her and sets her apart as an executive, executive coach, and consultant who specializes in elevating results and impact for individual talent and organizations in the Green Industry. Dr. Offenbacker co-designed and leads the Green Career Workshops for the global nonprofit Leaders in Energy, a 4,500+ member organization of clean energy and sustainability professionals in the U.S. and more than 100 countries. She also serves as Director of Training & Development for Leaders in Energy. 
Esteemed Workshop Lead:
Arasia "Alkemia" Earth
Esteemed Workshop Lead:
Ietef "DJ Cavem" Vita
Wife-and-husband team Alkemia Earth and Ietef Vita (aka DJ Cavem) will be leading a workshop around building an environmentally conscious business from a holistic approach and using the art of eco hiphop to build a sustainable business. Alkemia is a Certified Usui Reiki master (an ancient Japanese healing system based on chi and the “laying of the hands”), Certified Spiritual Alchemist, and Holistic Health and Wellness Coach. She is also a yogi, organic gardener, and raw vegan chef. She was private chef and energy practitioner for NBA all-star Wilson Chandler for a season, and was invited to present at the White House during the Obama administration along with celebrity chefs Gail Simmons, Sunny Anderson, Michael Simon, and Bobby Flay.   When DJ didn't know it would sprout into a global movement. His mission to rap about climate change, food justice and plantbased foods spread far beyond his Denver hometown. Having performed at the Obama White House and been featured in Oprah Magazine and on the Rachael Ray Show, Dr. Ietef "DJ Cavem" Vita became known as more than just a rapper -- but an activist, educator and vegan chef. Now, several years after the release of The Produce Section, his award-winning album that fused hip hop with lessons on eco-friendliness, Cavem has shifted his focus to new material. His latest project BIOMIMICZ is being released as an album/seed pack to get people involved and spur listeners into action.
Featured Panelist:
Abby Hopper, Solar Energy Industries Association
Featured Panelist:
Adam Roberti, Cortada Projects
Abigail Ross Hopper is the President and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, the national trade organization for America's solar energy industries. She oversees all of SEIA's activities, including government affairs, research, communications, and industry leadership. Before joining SEIA, Abby served as Director of the Department of Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the Director of the Maryland Energy Administration, Energy Advisor to Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, and Deputy General Counsel with the Maryland Public Service Commission. Before embarking on a career in public service, Abby spent nine years in private practice. Abby graduated Cum Laude from the University of Maryland School of Law and earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Dartmouth College.    As the Director of Cortada Projects, Adam Roberti uses the power of art to engage Miami in learning about and addressing important ecological concerns including climate change, sea-level rise, and biodiversity loss. Cortada Projects aims to build community and transform citizens into stewards of the environment. In 2019, Adam oversaw the development and implementation of Xavier Cortada's "Plan(T)" project across Miami-Dade County. By partnering with local schools and organizations, residents have planted thousands of mangrove propagules to facilitate climate conversations, help sequester carbon dioxide, and grow our salt-tolerant native tree canopy. Adam holds a Bachelors of Arts in Ecosystem Science and Policy and a Masters of Environment, Culture, and Media from the University of Miami.
Featured Panelist:
Alexander DeLeon, Calvert/Eaton Vance
Featured Panelist:
Amy Bachman, DC Central Kitchen
Alexander DeLeon is an assistant vice president and ESG quantitative research analyst for Calvert Research and Management, a wholly owned subsidiary of Eaton Vance Management specializing in responsible and sustainable investing across global capital markets. He is responsible for quantitative analysis of the Calvert Research System, analysis of vendor data sources, testing performance of KPIs and supporting development of new ESG performance indicators. He joined Calvert Research and Management in 2016. Alexander began his career in the investment management industry in 2013. Before joining Calvert Research and Management, he was an investment analyst with Calvert Investments. Alexander earned a B.A. with honors from Morehouse College.   Amy Bachman works as the Director of Procurement and Sustainability for DC Central Kitchen, a hunger and empowerment non-profit. Amy handles all incoming product to DC Central Kitchen including managing food recovery from all sources from local farms to grocery stores and sourcing local food for DCCK’s farm to school program.Amy graduated from Wake Forest University in 2010 with a Bachelor in History and Minor in International Studies. Amy served as an AmeriCorps VISTA with the Campus Kitchens Project at Johns Hopkins University and then worked as the Volunteer and Donation Coordinator at the Franciscan Center in Baltimore before joining DC Central Kitchen in 2012. 
Featured Panelist:
April Taylor, South Central Climate Adaptation Science Center
Featured Panelist:
Ava Richardson, City of Baltimore
April Taylor is a Sustainability Scientist with the Chickasaw Nation officed at the South Central Climate Adaptation Science Center (SC-CASC) in Norman, OK. Her position includes 1) building tribal professional capacity in climate change science and approaches to planning, 2) providing technical assistance for tribal climate adaptation planning, and 3) mentoring native early career professionals. April holds a BS in Marine Science from Texas A&M University and a Masters in Earth and Environmental Resource Management from the University of South Carolina. As a Chickasaw citizen with a family tradition of Native American grafted pecan trees, she is inspired by helping the tribes manage and plan for the many environmental impacts of climate variability and change.   Ava Richardson is a Technical Advisor for the Food Matters Program at the City of Baltimore. Ava has worked to advance public and environmental health for the past 10 years through systems change, policies and programs as an advocate and researcher. She currently supports the city’s food waste and recovery efforts – providing technical expertise on food systems and sustainability matters. Ava holds a Masters of Public Health from Morgan State University and is currently obtaining a Doctorate of Public Health with a focus in environmental health from Johns Hopkins University.
Featured Panelist:
Charles Glass, Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Featured Speaker:
Cody Kamrowski, NWF
Charles C. Glass, Ph.D., P.E. was appointed Deputy Secretary at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources in December, 2019 after serving as Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy Analysis and Planning and Director of Bicycle and Pedestrian Access at the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT). Dr. Glass came to MDOT from Howard University, where he served on the faculty for seventeen years. In 2010, he spent time as an Environmental Engineer at the US EPA as the lead on a potential new regulation for the mitigation of sanitary sewer overflows. He completed his undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering in 1992 at The Johns Hopkins University. He completed his Master of Science and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1994 and 1997, respectively.   Cody Kamrowski is a lifelong resident of Wisconsin, and his first relationship to the National Wildlife Federation was through its State Affiliate, the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation. Cody's involvement led to his nomination to the NWF board of directors in 2017 as one of the youngest serving board members in the organization's history. As a current board member, Cody engages with NWF’s board members, affiliates, supporters, donors, as well as the general public on a plethora of topics and issues. Cody explained that, "being part of the National Wildlife Federation has been the ultimate learning experience, and I’m thankful to be part of the most dedicated and driven conservation organization in the United States."
Featured Panelist:
Emily Yates, City of Philadelphia
Featured Panelist:
Jay Wilson, Washington DC Department of Energy and Environment
As Smart City Director for the City of Philadelphia, Emily is responsible for managing and leading the implementation of the SmartCityPHL Roadmap that provides guidance on how smart and emerging technology solutions can improve the quality of life for residents, businesses and visitors while improving the delivery of City services. Emily was Deputy Director with Envision Charlotte where she was responsible for leading the development of the Circular Charlotte strategy, which made Charlotte the first city in the US to have a citywide circular economy strategy, in addition to other local programming that created a smarter, more sustainable Charlotte. Emily holds a Bachelors of Science in Landscape Architecture from Arizona State University.    Jay Wilson is the Program Manager for the development and launch of the DC Green Bank, a quasi-public financial institution whose mission is to attract private investment and enable access to financing for energy efficiency and clean energy projects. Jay is also a registered architect and green building expert at the District’s Department of Energy and Environment, where he is responsible for advancing sustainable development and green building policy and planning. Jay served on the city’s Construction Code Coordinating Board and on the Board of Directors of the USGBC National Capital Region Chapter from 2011 through 2015. Jay was recognized with a 2019 USGBC-NCR Individual Leadership Award for Excellence in Government, Advocacy or Policy.
Featured Panelist:
Jennifer Evans, Austin Creative Reuse
Featured Panelist:
Lauren Zappone Maples, Partners in Education, Agriculture, and Sustainability
Jennifer is the Sustainability Chair for the Board of Directors of Austin Creative Reuse, an Austin, Texas-based non-profit with a mission to foster conservation and reuse through creativity, education, and community building. ACR’s vision is a community that consciously consumes and chooses reuse as a first choice when evaluating the need for personal or project materials. ACR’s creative reuse center is a community hub where the public can donate unused art materials, purchase reuse art materials at low cost, attend workshops on art and conservation, and volunteer their time and talents. Jennifer is a graduate of Duke University’s Environmental Science & Policy Program and the University of Chicago Law School. In her day job, Jennifer is the Deputy Director of the environmental education non-profit Families in Nature.   Lauren is a co-founder and executive director of PEAS (Partners for Education, Agriculture, and Sustainability), a nonprofit operating in Austin, TX. PEAS specialists partner with classroom teachers to lead outdoor, garden, and kitchen lessons that incite student curiosity while providing high-quality academic programs. Additionally PEAS runs and manages PEAS Community and School Farm at Cunningham Elementary. Prior to PEAS, Lauren was a classroom teacher with AISD. She had also worked as environmental educator for the City of Austin for two years and taught as an adjunct at 2 local universities. 
Featured Panelist:
Linda Cheung, Before It's Too Late
Featured Panelist:
Mark Orlowski, Sustainable Endowments Institute
Linda founded Before It’s Too Late (BITL) on the premise of the power of visual arts and storytelling to evoke emotion and create social change. Through BITL she is empowering students, artists, entrepreneurs and vulnerable communities to become agents of change on the climate issue. Linda has 9 years of professional experience in the marketing, finance and renewable energy industries. Linda has also worked on international social impact projects in Guatemala, Kenya and India, and she grew up helping her serial entrepreneur family launch seven restaurants and other food industry startups. She holds an MBA degree from MIT Sloan and B.S. Economics degree from Wharton.   Mark Orlowski is the Executive Director and Founder of the Sustainable Endowments Institute. Mark has led the Institute’s research efforts on college sustainability initiatives including the creation of the College Sustainability Report Card leading the development and coordination of the Billion Dollar Green Challenge, an initiative that is encouraging colleges and other nonprofit institutions to invest a combined total of $1 billion into energy efficiency upgrades. A graduate of Williams College, Mr. Orlowski served on the college’s Advisory Committee on Shareholder Responsibility and chaired its Campus Environmental Advisory Committee. He also received an associate’s degree from Berkshire Community College and earned a master’s degree at Harvard University, where he studied nonprofit management.
Featured Panelist:
Max Greunig, Ecologic Institute
Featured Panelist:
Sophie Liu, Loop
Max Gruenig is co-founder of POCACITO, Post-Carbon Cities of Tomorrow. His work focuses on urban sustainability and climate and energy policy. Before, he was president of Ecologic Institute, a transatlantic nonprofit research institute in Washington DC and Berlin. In 2004, Max Gruenig received his degree in economics from Humboldt-University Berlin. He frequently lectures and facilitates stakeholder workshops on issues of sustainability and climate change in cities around the world, most recently in Tampico, Mexico.   Sophie Liu is on the Business Development team at Loop, an innovative e-commerce platform offering products in reusable durable packaging rather than single-use. Developed by TerraCycle, an international recycling leader in hard-to-recycle waste streams like cigarettes, pouches and more, Loop aims to change the future of consumption by redefining how consumers and brands treat packaging. 

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Day One:

Intro and Welcome Message (Mamie A. Parker):

Day One Keynote (Mustafa Santiago Ali):

Panel 1 (Food Justice):

EcoLeaders Project Planning Template Workshop (Courtney Cochran):

Panel 2 (Arts and Creative Industries):

Author Spotlight (Justine Burt):

Culinary Climate Workshop (Alkemia Earth and DJ Cavem):

Day Two:

Day Two Keynote (Jennifer Allen Aroz):

Panel 3 (Circular Economy Careers):

Interview with Cody Kamrowski:

Panel 4 (Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation):

Career Planning Workshop (Beth Offenbacker and David Corsar):

Panel 5 (Green Finance and Investment Careers):

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 Special Thank You to Our EcoCareers Conference 2020 Sponsors:


Colgate University

Emerson College

Grinnell College

Rowan University

Stonehill College

Tulane University

University at Albany

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