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Making Waves: Finding your Employment Niche — WEN Event Recap

By Jennie Rose, guest blogger

Say ‘cheese!’

Can you grow your career in a global pandemic? WEN put this question to the test recently at its late August event. Proving you can’t keep a group of good women down, the event created a groundswell of energy that led to hundreds of new LinkedIn connections, a Slack channel with hot job leads, and a handful of potential new business collaborations.

Sara Fuentes, founder of Smart Waste

Yes, it turns out we can in fact carve out our employment niches in 2020. Perhaps even more so now that we don’t need to go it alone. During eight Zoom sessions, members were subgrouped by their topics of choice to speak with experts about opportunities in government, sustainability, cleantech, and emerging trends in each of these sectors.

Sara (who loves “talking trash”) Fuentes, founder & president of Smart Waste consulting services, told her personal story as an outsider who forged a path in the cleantech industry while navigating obstacles around class and race. Fuentes brought the house down when she told the audience about launching her latest zero-landfill enterprise during the pandemic.  “Everyone wants to be connected to the most daring person in the room,” said Erica Warren, WEN board member and the producer of the event.

Catherine (“Diversity does not come on a silver platter”) McLean, the founder of recruitment company Dylan Green, described her efforts to build a diverse pool of candidates for cleantech jobs. To this end, McLean offers a series of videos on the Dylan Green website that give more depth to the issues at hand. (

Jaime Ormond, regulatory analyst at California Public Utilities Commission

Jaime Ormond from the California Public Utilities Commission helped demystify the application process for jobs in civil service. “The only way to do the process wrong is to not continue trying,” said Ormond. Director of Recruiting Stacy Dellinger also took questions on navigating the competitive hiring process at Earthjustice.

WEN’s superpowers are a diverse membership and strong relationships in cutting-edge sectors. Comprised of multi-generational professionals, new graduates seeking positions in their chosen career, and entrepreneurial mothers, WEN exists at the nexus between up-and-coming youth and established leadership, and reaches out in both directions.

Erica Warren, board member and the force of nature behind last week’s event, said she monitors the market looking for workforce development opportunities with a focus on the growing environmental justice sector.

Catherine McLean, founder of recruitment firm Dylan Green

After such a content-rich evening, one or two follow-up questions may still linger. If you nodded “yes,” then worry not! The imminent September 16th WEN happy hour is here for you.

In the meantime, we leave you with a few prompts to prep your pitch in time for the WEN happy hour session on September 16:

  1.     What is your professional level?
  2.     Are you seeking employment at this time?
  3.     How has your employment search/motivation been impacted by COVID?
  4.     Have you ever used a recruiter to find a job or engage in the hiring process? How did it go? What was the outcome?
  5.     What are you looking to get out of this event? Some ideas: community, networking, experience telling your unique story, leading from your values and vision, networking with others in your field, knowing and networking with other WEN members.
  6.     Would you benefit from community mentoring?

WEN hopes to see you on September 16th; check out the Eventbrite for further details and to register.