Your Daily Thread – Tracy Hepler

Tracy HelperWe had a chat with Tracy Hepler this week, an entrepreneur trying to green LA:

Q1 What are you up to at the moment?

Right now I’m constantly working on growing my baby, yourdailythread.com which is an online community space for green, sustainable and local living in Los Angeles. Our goal is to bring green down to the local level. There are wonderful national and global sites out there right now such as treehugger.com or grist.org, but they usually don’t focus on neighborhood issues. We try to focus on things that you can do in your own back yard, from community gardens to local green events—we sift through all green marketing and green washing to bring our readers the crème de la crème of local green issues.

I have also recently co-founded LYFE (Leading Young Future Entrepreneurs) with Hillary Newman (the Ecowarriorr) and Rachel Hurn-Maloney of Vie Eco Fashion Boutique in Los Angeles. LYFE brings together young entrepreneurs who care about the environment and want to network both professional and socially.

I also do freelance writing/blogging for a few other green/cause oriented sites including the Huffington Post Green, Causecast.org and I’m working on a few more side projects including bringing green to the Latino mainstream.

Q2 Why do you do what you do?

After graduating college, I thought I really wanted to work in the entertainment industry as a writer. I soon realized once in the industry that my calling was to use my skills towards work that would help make the world a better place. As cheesy as that might sound, it is true. I feel that climate change and the environment is possibly the most pressing issue of our time and I want to do everything in my power to bring change and inspire everyone to do everything they can to conquer this problem.

Q3 What keeps you awake at night?

Haha, this is funny because I’m currently on vacation and I can’t be away Your Daily Thread for more than a few hours—that is my baby, if you will, and I am so inspired to see it succeed all the way through.

Q4 You mentioned that you’re doing a summer special with YDT – what tips do you have?

Well I missed the 4th, but our tips are applicable for the rest of summer. If I could suggest one big thing it would be to avoid using disposables. For one hour of picnicking or bbqing your plastic plates and forks will sit in the landfill for hundreds of years. I don’t care how tasty you burgers are—it’s not worth it. Bring your own plates from home or if you need to use a form of disposable, use compostable ones from companies like Earth Shell. They’re made in the USA from old potatoes and other scrapes and can be thrown into the compost bin. If you don’t compost and must throw them away, they won’t take nearly as long to biodegrade. You can view the rest of our green summer bbq tips here.

Q5 If you were a g(r)enie, what would you wish for?

I get three wishes I assume!

1) I’d wish for green to be a major priority across, political, social and all other spectrums. I’m happy with the amount of progress we’ve made in the last few years, but I think we’ve got a lot more to do and a stronger sense of urgency is needed.

2) That every household and business in America used a recycling and composting bin so that we would throw less into our landfills.

3) That we’d return to eating healthy real food. I have been a big fan of Michael Pollan for a while and recently saw Food INC—it’s shocking how much of what we eat really isn’t food. I’d wish for a return to more seasonal organic food that everyone could afford.

July 13, 2009 at 10:24 pm Leave a comment

More Insight from Net Impact

From Net Impact SF’s site, in regards to last week’s green jobs event:

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What a success! Last night we had over 60 RSVP’s and 2 great speakers that left the crowd in an upbeat and hopeful mood. Leonard Adler of Green Jobs Network and Christina Gilyutin of Bright Green Talent were there to assure us that there are jobs out there…we just need the right tools and strategies to sniff them out!

You’re good enough, smart enough, and gosh darn it! People like you!

The burden of finding a job is not only like dating with its many high expectations and low results, but many of us feel like we need therapy just to get through it! How many resumes do we have to send into oblivion via Craigslist/Career Builder/Hot Jobs/Monster before we get a break? According to Christina Gilyutin, Director of Development and Chief Career Counselor for Bright Green Talent, we need to stay positive and remember that we are smart and talented, we just need to find strategies so that we are seen. Leonard and Christina helped the crowd to stay positive with some inspiring tips on finding a job.

Tips on how to be noticed: Networking

  • Volunteer to meet people or become a leader of a group, this not only helps you to meet new people, but it shows that you have initiative
  • Join affinity groups such as Green Jobs Network (www.greenjobs.net), Net Impact (www.netimpactsf.org) or SF Green Drinks (sfgreendrinks.org) which all serve to surrounded you with people who have similar interests
  • At networking/social events, TALK TO AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE
  • Comments from the crowd included using your every day activities as an opportunity to tell people about your interests, you never know who you’ll meet!
  • Another suggestion from the audience was to organize dinners with friends and acquaintances who have similar/related career interests
  • A Net Impact leader mentioned that he found his job by talking to people in his field of interest as a peer, which resulted in a job! Confidence pays! He continued to say that if you’re looking for a job in sustainability, you need to find a 3rd vector to define your niche. Green + Business isn’t specific enough. Are you into design, procurement, logistics, materials science, …? The more specific the better.
  • Be a connector! Link people to others, they will likely return the favor!

Get Strategic! Leonard Adler of Green Jobs Network highlighted 3 points for us to remember:

  • Follow the Venture Capitalists! They might want to fund your idea!
  • Follow the money! Where is the government funneling money right now? To Green projects! Find out what kind of projects and to which companies the funds are going.
  • Follow the law! What laws have been passed recently? How does this legal change relate to my industry of interest?

Online Tips:

Spend only 10-20% of your time online for your job search and use the rest of that time giving your elevator pitch to new networks. While job boards are great, try to find job boards with a clear focus on your industry of interest such as Treehugger.com. There are a lot of Green job boards out there! General job boards can be more competitive due to their high amount of traffic and tendency to cover a broad number of industries. Also, try your old university’s job board, they often post jobs for alumni.

Need help with your resume?

Did you know about the Job Forum? The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce holds an event every Wednesday evening (6:30 to 8:30) called the Job Forum where they provide feedback on resume writing and give advice on job hunting http://www.thejobforum.org/.

What if I don’t have experience?

Try interning, its not just for the 20-somethings! If you don’t like that idea, try volunteering. Many businesses would love to have you work without paying while you gain valuable experience.

Seek Professional Help!

To learn more about Bright Green Talent’s Career Counseling Services, please visit http://www.brightgreentalent.com/

July 13, 2009 at 9:38 pm Leave a comment

Thoughts on Adam Werbach’s Book Launch

Penned by Christina

Fire BreatherLast night I enthusiastically attended the book launch for Adam Werbach’s new book, Strategy for Sustainability. (For those of you who don’t know who Adam Werbach is, read on or learn about his company, Saatchi & Saatchi S).  They had a ton of great speakers, drumming, drinks and fire dancers!

During the performance, the drummers talked about what culture really means, how critical it is for society and how it connects to sustainability.  I can never hear enough of that type of thinking!  I was also reminded that Saatchi & Saatchi S focuses on and problem-solves utilizing SEEC – social, environmental, economic and cultural dimensions.  It really warmed my heart (and not only due to my proximity to the fire!) to see a thriving company that has pushed the boundaries of progressive business thinking.

(Photo by Nathan Wyeth)

July 10, 2009 at 8:18 pm Leave a comment

Wisdom of the Net Impact Crowd

Penned by Carolyn

Last night, Christina (our career coach extraordinaire) spoke at the San Francisco Net Impact monthly chapter meeting, which was focused around green jobs. Leonard Adler, head of www.greenjobs.net, organized the event and provided some really valuable insight as well — videos to come soon.

Probably the most interesting element of the event for us was the 20 minutes that the audience spent sharing their own tips, success stories, and warnings about searching for a job. Some really amazing insight was put out there, and we wanted to share some of their thoughts on staying positive and effective while you’re unemployed or jobseeking:

  • If you’re unemployed, keep a schedule. Whether it’s walking your dog each day, going to the grocery store, keeping an active calendar of networking events, you can keep structure and motivation by sticking to a daily schedule.
  • Seeking out volunteer leadership roles will give others a chance to see how you work and be able to recommend you based on work ethic, organization and other elements that might not come through when you apply or interview for a position.
  • Networking is a two-way street: keep helping others by connecting acquaintances with similar interests or recommending other jobseekers for roles you know are open. Keeping this up whether you’re jobseeking or not is empowering and will keep your network connected and active.
  • Get out in front of people. Jobseeking can make you spend a lot of time alone, and you can fall out of practice in terms of presenting yourself and your spiel. The more you interact with others, the better you’ll do when you eventually have to present yourself in an interview.
  • It’s never too late to take an internship, especially if you need to gather skills to move into a new sector.
  • Whenever you reach out to people you don’t know or peripherally know, do it thoughtfully. Find your common interests, point out your shared connections, or remark on something that’s happening in their company or industry. Not doing so is wasting a big opportunity to connect on an emotional, social level.
  • Find free jobseeker support services — such as the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce’s weekly Job Forum.
  • Don’t forget the basics. Applying for a green job is still applying for a job: make sure there are no spelling, grammar, or other basic mistakes in your resume. Tailor each resume and cover letter to the particular role.

Thanks to Julie and Adam Menter and the rest of the SF Net Impact Professional Chapter for organizing the event. Like many chapters across the country, the group hosts monthly meetings for its members with interesting speakers and opportunities to meet people working for social responsibility in business. Learn more about Net Impact and join at www.netimpact.org.

More photos on our Flickr feed.

July 9, 2009 at 6:12 pm Leave a comment

Put Your Resume to Good Use: Help Educate Kids in Madagascar

Malagasy Students

For every 50 new resumes registered on our site before September 1, we will fund the education of a child in Madagascar for one year.

At the end of 2008, Bright Green Talent quietly made a donation to a Malagasy school to help put a child through education for one year for every placement we’ve made. And now, we want to more people involved. This month, we’re launching a new campaign to turn our goals into action:

At Bright Green Talent, we’re always looking for ways to spread our social and environmental aims beyond the impact we can make just by placing two, ten or a hundred people into jobs. We recognize the need to ensure that we provide ‘Talent for a Bright Green Future’ at each and every turn – not just in London or San Francisco, but in Africa, Asia, Latin America and beyond. And we believe strongly in “paying it forward” – helping others so that the favor can eventually come back around as we all strive towards meaningful livelihood in a cleaner future.

Why Madagascar?

One of our co-founders, Tom, also founded Blue Ventures, an award-winning organization working in Madagascar, and in light of his experience and the recent political troubles in Madagascar, we were compelled to contribute to creating a sustainable future for these children. Bright Green Talent’s donation provides scholarships to help finance a teacher, food and accommodation for children from surrounding villages so they can study in Andavadoaka (many villages don’t have a school).

Why scholarships?

As Blue Ventures says, ‘these donations are vital to help educate the next generation of people living and working to protect the surrounding fragile coastal ecosystems in which they rely for their livelihoods. Without these donations many of these children would not receive any formal education.’

Education – both about environmental issues and to promote economic security and development – is key to promoting stewardship of the world’s natural resources. The actions of every single person around the world count.

Why send your resume to us?

Our aim – to collect resumes – is evidently not just about Madagascar: we’re readying ourselves for the wave of green jobs mounting on the horizon, and we want to have a willing green workforce so that we can help companies quickly find the right person to grow out their sustainability initiatives. In the meantime, we’ll continue to provide resources, opportunities, and coaching to help prepare you as those jobs become available. And don’t fear – we never, ever pass on resumes without approval from our candidates.

So by registering your resume with us, you open yourself to new positions without any drawbacks — and you help spread education, knowledge, and stewardship around the world.

Thanks for spreading this note far and wide to help us help people around the world find a more meaningful, sustainable livelihood.

If you’ve already registered with Bright Green Talent, but would like to contribute directly to help these children, please click here.

July 7, 2009 at 7:21 pm Leave a comment

Update: Waxman-Markey, Stimulus Dollars, and Green Jobs Training

Carolyn ThumbnailPenned by Carolyn

Watching this one minute video review of the energy bill in the House, one word resonates again and again: jobs. The potential for job creation in moving towards a clean energy future has become a rallying cry for proponents of the Waxman-Markey Bill — because who can argue with job creation when unemployment has officially hit 9.5% nationally?

In the past couple weeks, the Labor Department announced $500 million in grants for green jobs training programs. States and cities have also started to distribute stimulus dollars for training programs. If you’re interested in who’s getting funding and how, sign up for updates from Green for All — they’ve been giving a number of conference calls to keep folks in the loop and share information nationally about training programs. Most of the money that’s being doled out focuses on helping blue-collar workers transition into the green economy — providing “pathways out of poverty” as the nation undergoes energy retrofits, solar system installation, and more.

But some concerns remain. Yesterday, the New York Times brought into question the effectiveness of retraining programs in giving trainees a leg up in the job search. As the Times wrote, “a little-noticed study the Labor Department released several months ago found that the benefits of the biggest federal job training program were ‘small or nonexistent’ for laid-off workers. It showed little difference in earnings and the chances of being rehired between laid-off people who had been retrained and those who had not.”

Hopefully, the green jobs training programs will avoid the pitfalls that have led to the concerns raised by the NYT article, and will lend a hand to folks from all backgrounds and work histories — we hear from a lot of people who are looking to transfer technical skill sets and haven’t yet found a clear pathway in helping them do so. We have to believe that, with all the energy and enthusiasm focused on the green sector right now, there couldn’t be a better moment for these programs to succeed in training the next generation of environmental leaders.

To that end, we’ll continue to provide advice and resources to our jobseekers (keep an eye out for Bright Green Seminars starting in the next couple months), and we’ll support our partner Solar Richmond as they seek stimulus funding to support their amazing solar installation training program.

Stay tuned… more exciting developments are surely on the way.

July 6, 2009 at 6:49 pm 1 comment

Barbara Boxer Falls in Line

Penned by Nick

This morning Solar Richmond hosted Senator Barbara Boxer. Amongst a well-orchestrated public relations production, about 100 attendees from all walks of society milled about and got to know each other.

At a time when folks are wondering “where are the green jobs?”, this place seemed to have all the answers. People were together, training, and envisioning–indeed, realizing!–a cleaner, greener tomorrow.

But after the applause had died down and the press disappeared, I got a chance to sit down with Solar Richmond and hear about how hard it is to really change the world.

The reality of the situation, despite all the applause, was that there’s still a lot of hard work to be done.

Graduates from these programs still find too few career opportunities, and the support structure that surrounds them needs to be reinforced with more than just hard skills training.

As Senator Boxer noted many times, these graduates are our future, and their futures are tied to a cleaner, greener economy.

If we are to truly make an inclusive transition to the green economy, we need to do more to help at-risk citizens from falling into the trap of unemployment.

The self-confidence and sense of satisfaction these kids gain from programs like Solar Richmond is immeasurable. They literally beam out the good vibes. But they also need help polishing off their corporate personas and skills so that they don’t pass the class only to fail the real-world test.

A lack of reliable transporation, credible role models, and access to job opportunities daily reminds us all that it’s not easy to climb up above the fray of broken families, drugs, discrimination, and a broken social support system.

The Obama Administration is investing heavily in next generation job training programs. The programs promise to be premised on partnership, and in the process, bring together a stronger family of organizations in which to raise the next generation of environmental leaders.

Along with Senator Boxer, Solar Richmond, and the Administration, I hope that we all can continue to come closer together to support this vision, and in the process, ensure everyone benefits from a cleaner, greener tomorrow.

June 30, 2009 at 10:32 pm Leave a comment

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