Top Career Advice from GREEN Industry Mentors


Jan 7, 2020

On a Thursday every month, the GREEN Team hosts a Facebook live stream with a GREEN Industry Mentor to learn from their professional experiences and hear their best career advice for the GREEN community.

GREEN Industry Mentors have shared insights on the unique stories of their successes, failures, and top career advice.
The goal? To empower and educate more young leaders to be a part of the solutions towards a sustainable future.

Read on to hear the key points of career advice from each video session that will help guide you to reach your own career goals!

#1: Follow Your Passion

During his six years working for Chevron, Kevin also worked as an Underwater Wildlife Photographer for National Geographic. After being exposed to environmental issues, he set his career path toward sustainability, which ultimately led to his position with the Sustainability and Innovation Team at Nike.

What action steps did you take to break into the sustainability field?

Reflect. Think about what you care about in the world because climate change is such a big topic and the ways to impact it are so broad. Find your avenue. That’s the avenue that you’ll be most passionate in, and that is what will make you stand out. You cannot hide passion.

Ask for help, assistance, and mentorship. I’ve relied on so many people to get where I am today. Remember the circular mindset of paying it forward with help and support. Especially in the field of climate change, which is so emotionally exhausting. Find out the people you know for referrals. You can even offer free help to organizations your passionate about to gain instant creditability.

Don’t be afraid to dive into something you might not know a lot about. You don’t need to check off every bullet point in a job application. Don’t sell yourself short! Come up with your compelling story from all of the things that you do, and make sure to do them very deeply.

Watch Kevin’s Meet-A-Mentor session video here!

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Kevin Yuan | Japan & Peru ’18 | Sustainability and Innovation Team at Nike

“There’s nothing else like The GREEN Program in the world right now. From a recruiting standpoint, going on TGP during a school break shows so much intentionality.”

#2: Build Your Brand

After receiving her Environmental Engineering Degree from the University of Delaware, Kelsey began as an environmental consultant at Deloitte Industries. Through her experience with Deloitte,  she worked with an Indian-based sanitation entrepreneur, who connected her to the Toilet Board Coalition.

What advice can you give to anyone building their future career?

No matter where you land, there are no wrong steps. The first step is the hardest, but you need to get through it. Take advantage of all opportunities, they’re always there. You can build your skill base in any space!

Build your brand. Anything that defines you either within your community, your company, etc. Let people know what you’re obsessed with! It will stand out.

Watch Kelsey’s Meet-A-Mentor session video here!

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Kelsey McWilliams |  Costa Rica ’14 | Associate Director at The Toilet Board Coalition

“With TGP, I was able to see an entire country move toward a circular system, and it really helped shape me in terms of what is possible with renewable energy.”

#3: Make an Impression

At the University of New Hampshire, Andy was involved in the UNH Sustainability Institute, which led him to his current position with Second Nature. Also, Andy and his long-time partner won the “Social Venture Innovation Challenge,” at UNH for their innovative bee keeping business model, which helped launch their business!

What are some steps one can take to set themselves up for professional success?

Grow your Network. Find people who’s job interests you and just get to know them. You don’t even need to talk about work! Share stories about your interests, background, and experience, because they are what make you unique. Lean into that because it is one really compelling way to find a job that you like.

Make Connections. Find someone with a job you want in a company/industry you want to work in and get in touch! Most working professionals are flattered by the idea that someone is genuinly interested in what they do. Make a really good impression, and then 6-8 months later when they’re posting a new position, they will think of you first.

Get Face-time. Don’t waste your time applying for jobs on the internet. Email, call, and do anything you can to get face-time and make a good impression on them. Ask heartfelt questions about their journey. Meet someone for coffee once a month, and you’ll be 1,000 times ahead of where you’d be if you had spent that time applying for jobs on the internet.

Watch Andy’s Meet-A-Mentor session video here!

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Andy Demeo | Iceland ’15 | Data Analyst at Second Nature | Co-Founder at Half Acre Beekeeping

“TGP offered a fresh start and perspective for myself. I met so many people, who treated me like the person I wanted to be”

#4: Figure Out What Your Ask Is

During his studies at Princeton University, Stuart focused on the intersection of renewable energy, policy, and the economy. When looking for career opportunities, he utilized his networks and landed a job at GE Solar, now known as Distributed Solar Development LLC.

How can one set themselves apart in their career search?

Figure out what your “ask” is. This way you can talk to professionals in their careers and they can help you can insight into their industry. The best way to do this? Talk to as many people as you can! Ask them their story, share your interests, and there will likely be overlap between the two.

Expose yourself to diverse environments. Experiencing the world and hands-on learning helps solidify your interests. Get a diverse resume too. Take a variety of classes, work on projects, and keep an open mind. Diversity of thought leads to diversity of experience.

Watch Stuart’s Meet-A-Mentor session video here!

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Stuart Pomeroy | Iceland ’16 | Financial Analyst with GE Solar

“TGP was such an inflection point for me. It defined my remaining two years of school and inspired me to pursue something I was really interested in and truly would enjoy.”

#5: Be Persistant

While studying Physics and Electrical Engineering at Virginia Commonwealth University, Sanjana founded an organization called Earth Hacks which is an innovation-focused event where students from all majors develop solutions to real-world environmental challenges. She always knew she wanted to work for NASA, where she could combine her love of climate action and background in optics and lazers.

What helped you get to where you are?

Persistance. After years of applying to work with NASA, I attended a talk by a VCU computer engineering professor who was doing research with NASA. After his talk, I approached him with my interests, and after hearing my passion for NASA’s work, he connected me to an internship opportunity with a project on calipso. Never stop pushing for what you want!

Watch Sanjana’s Meet-A-Mentor session video here!

Apply here for sustainability study abroad programs

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Sanjana Paul | Iceland ’17 | Co Founder and Executive Director at The Earth Hacks Foundation | Intern at the NASA Langley Research Center

“TGP was such an inflection point for me. It defined my “Going on TGP gave me the starting push I needed to pave the way for everything.”

Learn more about GREEN Industry Mentors and Meet-A-Mentor Thursdays Here!

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