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Executive Director

Posted by: Campbell & Company

Portland, OR, US

Executive Director

The Audubon Society of Portland

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ROB SISSON
President
Republicans For Environmental Protection
• Working as a staffer in a political organization is a good place to get into environmental politics.
• All members of congress employ an environmental legislative assistant.
• You can work on sustainability inside corporations. Look for positions as Corporate Responsibility Officers or Sustainability Officers.
Republicans for Environmental Protection is an organization dedicate to restoring the GOP's great conservation legacy. Rob cites several environmental Republican presidents who established milestones in our nation. Abraham Lincoln protected Yosemite. Ulysses S. Grant created Yellowstone, the first national park. Theodore Roosevelt championed conservation by designating 150 National Forests and five national parks. Even conservative icon Ronald Reagan ratified the Montreal Protocol to protect the Ozone Layer. Rob's expertise is in Republican environmental politics but his advice could just as easily translate to the Democratic Party. While any college major can lead to a career in politics, law degrees are very common and any classes in environmental science would also be helpful. Look for entry level positions as political staffers, at think tanks, or in foundations.
MICA ODOM
National Energy Media Director
Environmental Defense Fund
• Mica attended Columbia Business School and concentrated in Social Enterprise. Look to Ivy League MBA programs for business training in sustainable energy.
• Internships, even unpaid, or other networking opportunities are the key to getting your foot in the door in green and environmental industries.
• MBA and business students should look to Net Impact for networking opportunities in green and environmental industries. Net Impact has chapters on most campuses in many cities, and the web site includes a jobs page.
Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), a leading national nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law, and innovative private-sector partnerships. As National Energy Media Director for the Environmental Defense Fund, Mica Odom has insight into career success in green marketing. Mica points to the success of past EDF campaigns such as the 2007 landmark deal that canceled eight coal-fired power plants proposed in Texas and adopted an unprecedented set of environmental initiatives, preventing 57 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year.

Mica's career highlights the importance of business skills in the green and environmental industry. MBA programs in both the Ivy League and state schools are offering innovative programs that highlight green and environmental business training. The economic push from MBA students trained in sustainable business models is currently demonstrating the viability of green career fields such as engineering, green building, renewable energy finance, green marketing, and philanthropic foundations with an environmental focus.
TOM BREUNIG
Director Of Marketing And Communications
Earth Advantage Institute
• Any job can be green. Look for opportunities to make an environmental impact in careers that are not traditionally thought of as green.
• Energy efficiency is vital to the growth of green building industry because it is very cost effective. Retrofitting residential and commercial buildings can save significantly on energy costs.
Earth Advantage Institute offers certification, education, research, and technical services to the growing green building industry. Tom Breunig, Director of Marketing and Communications, pointed out the Earth Advantage Institute's role in sustainable construction. Green building classes are offered for builders, real estate professionals, appraisers, and lenders. Multiple types of certification can be acquired through the Institute.

In addition, this organization, conducts research into new techniques and practices in sustainable building. The Portland area is a national leader in green building technologies and a great place to learn this growing trade.
JENN BILDERSEE
Program Coordinator
Portland Brownfield Program
• A variety specializations, including biology, chemistry, real estate, urban planning and public policy can lead to a career in managing contaminated site cleanup programs.
• Find internships in public and private organizations if you are looking for specialized environmental careers such as brownfield development.
Brownfields are empty lots seen in every city that may or may not contain pollutants and contaminants. Jenn Bildersee coordinates the Brownfield Program for the city of Portland, Oregon and helps the public report, identify and test these lots for contaminants such as PCBs, petroleum, lead or arsenic. Often, the tests come back negative and the owner of the property is free to use it without worrying about harmful pollutants. When a brownfield tests positive, the city can direct the owner to the proper resources for removal of the pollutants.

Portland was the first of many city governments to test brownfields. City government will always have a need for environmental education, environmental cleanup programs, and environmental code enforcement. Cities need dedicated professionals to insure the quality of life and health of its citizens.
STACY HOLTMANN
Office Manager
Ecotrust
• Focus on one area that you want to get involved with. If you are too broad in your search you will overwhelm yourself and it will be harder for organizations to find the right fit for you. By focusing on one area you differentiate yourself.
• Networking opportunities abound if you get involved with a project or an issue. The more meaningful events will be harder to find, but much more worthwhile. There are groups that you can get involved with that have networking nights such as Net Impact, or Oregon Environmental Council.
Ecotrust's mission is to "innovate, invest, and inspire in ways that create reliable prosperity," and they have an impressive list of innovative green programs that do just that.

These programs are run by committed environmental professionals, such as Stacy Holtmann, in the Portland Oregon Ecotrust office. In addition to marine and forestry programs, Ecotrust runs a local food-to-farms program that creates a sustainable local food economy by connecting regional agriculture to schools.
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