Posts tagged ‘nick’

Van Jones for Supreme Court Justice!

nick_thumbPenned by Nick

With Justice David Souter retiring, the Obama campaign has an early opportunity to leave the “conservative-liberal” politics of old behind. In its place, the Administration should consider expanding on its progressive message that reaffirms we are “not a red America, or a blue America,” but a united, green America.

Environmental justice issues are poised to shape much of our future in America, though remain poorly understood and underrepresented on the Supreme Court. Bringing an environmental justice activist to the bench would align stakeholder interests across economic, human rights, and international horizons.

Admittedly, Van Jones, though a Yale-trained lawyer, is probably not qualified for the job (if only due to his lack of time on the Circuit). But his ideas, and what he represents, are sufficiently large and inclusive to constitute a seat on the highest court in the land.

For environmentalists, seeing their agenda brought to the fore would be a giant leap forward. Industry, too, would benefit by getting greater visibility into the priorities of the Courts in the years ahead. Haromizing legislation is a big obstacle towards greater environmental investment, but could be a huge opportunity with a green hand rewriting the laws of 21st century business.

At a time when activists, lobbyists, and business people alike are all looking to preserve their own long term economic interest by preserving the environment, it makes sense to bring these pieces together. What more, the environment agenda desperately needs a strong advocate.

With unemployment starting to subside and businesses getting back to business as usual, green jobs remain a priority for the US Administration. The reality of these jobs remains somewhat hard to measure, though there are signs of life. Giving Justice Souter’s job to an environmnetal justice advocate would be yet another sign that we’ve moved the discussion about our common environmental fate beyond dialogue and into action. This decision would be a watershed event that could, in decades ahead, be the very event that saves our our planet, our politics, and our economy.


May 11, 2009 at 4:00 pm Leave a comment

On Not Being All Things to All People

nick_thumbPenned by Nick

We’re 5 people at BGT, working with over 10,000 green jobseekers. For those who want to do the math, it means we’re averaging ~2,000 relationships per person. The majority of these relationships are our source of inspiration–new ideas from new people wanting to find new careers.

However, every once in a while we cross a candidate who has a different view on who BGT is, and what we should be doing.

Last week we received the following note from a candidate:

“Have tried twice to get something meaningful from Bright Green and on both occasions have been told you can’t help in any way… not sure what sort of recruiter does not want to talk to prospective candidate, one with a strong financial background and on Imperial Sustainability masters – but it does seem a little strange. Would be good if you could think about how you can help people find the direction you mention above if they are entering a new job area in the green space.”

We believe in honest dialogue and transparency at BGT. Instead of hiding this comment in the dark, it’s worth airing out.
We receive more demand for our services than we’re able to meet. We’re doing our best to scale to meet demand, but it takes time. When folks are unemployed and looking for a new green career, it can seem like an eternity. We get it.

More importantly, it means a lot to us that folks are holding us accountable and looking to us for guidance. But at times, it feels like our candidate lose perspective and think that they’re the only one who’s unemployed, or that their skillset is so strong that they deserve a job.

The hard reality is that we can’t place everyone (though it’s our goal!). It’s not that we don’t want to help–quite to the contrary, that’s our driving motivation. We’re insanely service-oriented–check out Christina’s feedback for a few examples of the praise we’ve received.

We can’t be all things to all people. That’s obvious. In the cases where it’s not, trust that we’re taking the long-view, that we value every relationship, and that where we can, we’re helping folks in a variety of ways: career counseling, job placement, industry information, etc.

This is a collective movement towards a brighter, greener future. It will take time–for those willing to join us for the long haul, we look forward to an opportunity to work together to realize our common vision.

May 4, 2009 at 4:40 pm Leave a comment

It’ll Grow While You Sleep!

tom_green_face_biggerPenned by Tom

In his fantastic interview with Doostang, Nick mentioned that one day, long beyond his time at Bright Green Talent (we hope), he’d like to be the San Francisco City and Parks Commissioner. As I strolled around Golden Gate Park this sunny weekend, I mused on this. Typical to Nick, it’s a thoughtful, somewhat eccentric ambition. The Monty Python Song, ‘I’m a lumberjack’ rolled around in my head. Nick possesses a commanding eloquence, huge intelligence and a incredible way with business. As such, my initial reaction was typical of the modern age – that he should aim higher… for mayor, governor or beyond. Yet the more I sat with it, the more this ambition made sense.

As I meandered through the park, I came across the Botanical Gardens. They reminded me of one of my favourite places on earth – the Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh – in both layout and style. Sure enough, when I looked up the park’s history, the Garden’s developer John McLaren, received his training in Edinburgh’s eden. His biography brought home to me the depth and meaning behind Nick’s ambition. John was ‘the best loved man in San Francisco’, according to one source. He lived in house in the park and spent time amongst nature every day. He earned enough prestige and admiration to become one of the ‘greatest Scots of all time’. He has left a beautiful, indelible mark on the city for thousands and thousands of people to enjoy for years, long beyond his death. He achieved his dream, to plant a redwood grove. Like Lord Iveagh, who donated Kenwood House to the people of London (where I spent many happy days as a child), his legacy leaves the inhabitants of this city with indelible memories of time spent within his park. Surely there can be no greater ambition than that? It might not seem the most glamourous job in the world, but could it be one of the most rewarding?

John McLaren is said to have planted over 2 million trees in his lifetime. Hopefully Bright Green Talent will also achieve that one day, as we plant a tree for each and every candidate we place . My favourite part of his biography is the advice his father gave him: “Me boy, if ye have nothing to do, go plant a tree and it’ll grow while ye sleep.” Surely a job which leaves a growing legacy that benefits many thousands of people long after you’re gone is something we should all aim for.

My own ambition is to become the CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It’s perhaps a more obvious choice which, until Nick’s captured my attention, has long been my ‘best job in the world’. Perhaps I take a leaf out of Nick’s park and aim for something humbler, yet equally meaningful.

April 30, 2009 at 4:25 pm Leave a comment

Green Businesses’ Dirty Little Secret: Implied Ethics

dsc_1294-1Penned by Nick

The question of ethics for environmental employers is a landmine issue that few people explore. In Wendy Jedlicka’s recent article, she suggests that getting a job at a firm with “eco-ethics” is both difficult and desirable. Though true, this misses the more pressing questions about how ethics apply to environmental organizations.

Finding employment with any employer right now — green or otherwise — is difficult. However, this insight doesn’t cut to the core of the question of ethics. Ethics aren’t constrained to “eco” companies alone. As business schools teach the world over, ethics are universal — both in business and in life.

What’s interesting in the domain of environmental companies is that these companies rely on their “ethical business models” to attract employees more than do traditional “brown” employers. The dirty little secret is that employers — from solar companies to sustainability consultancies and the like — rely on jobseekers’ assumption that they are ethical more than other firms because of their “eco” business models.

Having worked with employers worldwide to find and secure the top green talent, its become clear that not everyone embraces the same level of business ethics. Indeed, many businesses fail to highlight their ethics at all when we ask them what separates them from other employers.

Ethics in the environmental business are — at present — largely taken for granted. Yes, most employees at these firms believe they have a more ethical occupation, but the business practices themselves often don’t exude ethics. Quite to the contrary, many of these businesses fail to push their ethical practices as far as their products or services.

At a time when the very value of long-standing business models has been called into question (read: investment banking, insurance, etc), it strikes me that more employers should be focusing on their ethics.

More importantly, both employees and jobseekers of green companies should be challenging these firms to “walk the walk” and create a truly triple bottom line enterprise that embraces sound ethical practices, sound environmental practices and sound business practices.

Jedlicka’s article is right to raise the question about ethics, but readers should examine a company’s purpose/service to determine who’s ethical and who’s not.

Use the interview itself as a place to ask questions about how an employer’s environmental practices translate into more ethical business practices. Questions like these leave little room for maneuvering, but if a jobseeker’s goal is to find an ethical employer, those that are truly ethical will jump at the chance to respond to such a question. If they don’t, you may have found a case where an organization doesn’t truly “walk the walk.”

Continually pushing employers to keep ethics at the center of their businesses — green or otherwise — is the best way to ensure that your values align with your employers’.

[Originally published on]

April 17, 2009 at 5:26 pm Leave a comment

A Bright Green Refresher: Categorized Advice for Green Jobseekers

Since February, we’ve been putting out daily advice for green jobseekers. If you’re new to our blog or want to poke around in a specific topic, here’s a nearly-complete list of our advice posts. Have a look around!

Bright Green Talent’s 5 Ways to Ramp up your Job Search
Getting Oriented to Go Green
Getting Radically Tempered: Creating Change from the Inside
Paying it Forward
To School or Not to School?
Job Search Tip: Quality over Quantity to Keep Your Sanity
Linking People and Planet: Our Partnership with Solar Richmond
“Oh no, please don’t make me NETWORK!”

Sustainability Consulting:
Sustainability Consulting: What is it, and am I qualified? Part I
Sustainability Consulting: What is it, and am I qualified? Part II

Career Transitioning:
Perspectives from a Green Career Transition-er
To School or Not to School?
Getting Oriented to Go Green
Getting Radically Tempered: Creating Change from the Inside

Renewable Energy Inroads
Solar Opportunities to Match your Skill Set
Solar Classes and Certifications

Students and Recent Grads:
The Real Deal on Green Jobs for Students and Recent Grads
Get Skills; Get Savvy Part I
Get Connected (Networking 101)
How Not to Be a Jobseeker Horror Story
Resume Boot Camp I
Resume Boot Camp II
Resume Boot Camp III
Get Linked(In)

“Oh no, please don’t make me NETWORK!”
Get Connected (Networking 101)
Get Linked(In)

Career Coaching:
Here to Help: BGT Launches Career Coaching
Career Coaching: Launch is a Success!
Kudos to Christina: Career Coaching Feedback

Tom’s (Rules of) Thumb
Green Jobs: The Definitive Article
Top Skills for Getting a Green Job
What’s the Best Way to Find a Green Job?
Twit Your Way to a Green Job
On Eco-preneurship

April 10, 2009 at 2:40 pm 1 comment

“Extra! Extra! It’s Not All Bad News!”

dsc_1294-1Penned by Nick

So I admit it, I’m a news junkie. My fiance is quietly considering putting me into therapy for information addiction disorder. Its got me by the brain, (quickly deteriorating) eyes, and mouse-clicking finger all at once. Worse yet, I don’t want to kick the habit. I crave information and news 24/7.

Just as everyone’s nearing total burnout on the never-ending news stream of bad news, I’m finally feeling in control. It’s weird, but the more I consider it, the more it makes sense. The world’s changing fast right now — particularly for job seekers. Entire industries are rising and falling by the week, and with them, the fortunes of millions of people. The bad news is already a known quantity–it’s the good news that keeps me reading and positive.

At a time when the only certainty is change, I’ve come to enjoy the little news stories that feature people doing positive things with unfortunate events. Consider the new crop of DJ’s popping up in local clubs, or the unemployed who are discovering their thespian talents.

Another small factoid: I consider myself a pessmistic planner with an optimistic outlook. Yes, times are tough, but I’m convinced that from all the penny-penching and thumb-twiddling will come something greater: a cultural renaissance. That the arts are enjoying a newfound constituency in the unemployed is, I believe, a newsworthy story. Out of misfortune and hard times tradtionally come great ideas and a newfound inspiratoin. It’s a story as old as time, but easy to forget. For those who have, join me, and “read all about it“.

April 9, 2009 at 4:12 pm Leave a comment

Morality and Green Jobs – Our Work with Wal-Mart

dsc_1294-1Penned by Nick

Earlier this week, we partnered with Wal-Mart to find them a Sustainability Manager for their China operation. Despite their efforts to improve their environmental practices, many folks still view Wal-Mart as guilty and negligent:

“Before Wal-Mart Hires a Sustainability Manager, they need a Morality Manager to assure that their painted toys do not contain lead, that their milk does not contain toxins, and other crimes that we are not aware of. After they make significant progress in this area and their environment is not held hostage along with their sweat shop workers are treated with respect, then we can address sustainability issues.”

The quote above came from an individual who’s sincerely concerned about corporate practices, and whether or implied or otherwise, this quote strikes at the core of what we do at Bright Green Talent.

At Bright Green Talent, our credibility is our currency. To the extent we work with organizations who have questionable environmental or ethical practices, we risk tarnishing our own reputation.

“Reputational risk” is often overlooked and hugely under-apppreciated. Living up to Wal-Mart’s sustainability standards means we have to raise our bar — if we’re going to represent them and find them the greenest of employees, we need to be better recruiters ourselves.

I always joke that I love my job so much because it makes me be a better person. In the professional context, my personal life is just as much part of the story as anything else. And so, when we work with someone like Wal-Mart, it’s not because they are the most green of all employers (though they are up there), but because we believe in the vision they’re pursuing. Removing lead from toys and toxins from milks is what this relationship is about.

Casting stones is no way to engage people in the environmental dialogue — whether it be personally or professionally. If we’re going to talk, lets talk about how to make it better and be part of the solution, and in the process, keep everyone’s reputation intact.

March 20, 2009 at 8:53 pm 3 comments

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