Monica Dwight–Senior Program Associate, Net Impact
Monica Dwight (she/her/hers) is a firm believer in thinking globally and acting locally. With a background in social science and a passion for sustainability, she works at the intersection of people and the environment to design a sustainable and just world.
Among her many accomplishments are directing a 3-day zero waste festival with 30,000 attendees, educating K-12 students in San Francisco about water and zero waste, and engaging with youth across the USA to elevate diverse voices for the United Nations’ COY16, the official youth event for COP26. In her current role at Net Impact, she coordinates programs to inspire and empower emerging changemakers to transform their innovative sustainability ideas into tangible environmental progress. When she isn’t connecting with people about the climate crisis, you can find her in nature–probably hanging out in her hammock or hiking the California coastline.
What environmental issues are of most concern to you?
Communication! Because environmental issues (and solutions!) are so intertwined, it can sometimes be challenging to effectively communicate about climate change. We understand much of the science behind what we need to do to turn the tides towards sustainability, but we often lack the cooperation and communication to motivate people, government, and businesses to take climate action. To respond to the challenge of climate communication, I lean into tactics like storytelling and look to inspiring individuals like Professor Katharine Hayhoe, who provide insightful solutions to break down barriers and effectively deliver messaging to diverse audiences and motivate progress on climate change.
Discuss any mentors that have helped or inspired you to reach your aspirations.
I’ve been incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by so many inspiring mentors through my sustainability career. Whether it be a professor, a supervisor, a peer, or youth, one of my favorite parts of working in the sustainability field is that so many of the people I meet are genuinely passionate and steadfast about the work they do to make strides toward a sustainable future. Most notably, I want to express gratitude to Danielle for mentoring me to discover where I could best utilize my strengths to have the greatest impact in the environmental field, Linda for sharing her resources and wisdom to achieve both strong career health and ample career joy, and the WEN Board for inspiring and facilitating meaningful connection and community.
What do you think are some challenges and opportunities facing women in the environmental movement today?
I feel grateful for the women in the environmental movement leading with compassion to design a healthy and just world. However, when we lead with our hearts, this can sometimes leave us vulnerable to eco-anxiety or feeling disheartened and fatigued by the lack of resources and support dedicated to achieving sustainability. The flip side to this is an opportunity; I’ve also found that by working on such a challenging, yet meaningful issue, that I feel united with a community of people who are also passionate about and committed to change. This camaraderie makes me feel both inspired and empowered. And in my experience in the Bay Area environmental space, I frequently find myself in female-dominated spaces where women lift up other women. I feel so lucky to be a part of this community where I’ve gotten to connect with and be inspired by so many phenomenal people.
Connect with Monica on LinkedIn.