March 11, 2020

Are you spending tons of time working for the planet, but not getting paid for it? Or maybe you can't spend as much time as you'd like because of your job. Sound familiar?

If either of those are you, then you'll want to tune in to my interview with Lisa Yee-Litzenberg, Green Career Advisor. Find out how to take your experience and passion, so you can spend more time  protecting the environment and get paid well for doing it. 

Listen here and on Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts,  YouTube!

Meet Lisa Yee-Litzenberg

Like many of us, Lisa's career took many twists and turns that ended up preparing her perfectly for her current position, running her own business: Green Career Advisor.

Lisa studied Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan. During college she did internships and volunteer work that helped propel her into the field.

Right out of college, Lisa went to work with National Wildlife Federation (NWF). During her 12 years at NWF, Lisa worked in a variety of roles and areas from grassroots organizing on endangered species conservation, to Great Lakes and wolf conservation, and national initiatives.

In the end, Lisa was laid off due to a series of budget cuts. It was a shock to lose a job in an area that she was passionate about. But, it was also an opportunity. 

"It forced me to reimagine my career. Where did I want to go from here?"

"I took some time to think about the things that I was most passionate about."

Lisa identified what were the parts she loved, and what were the tasks that she didn't enjoy as much.

She realized that she really enjoyed mentoring students and women leaders in the environmental field. Lisa envisioned working as a career coach. She then identified a likely employer for that role: her alma mater, the Natural Resources and Environment Program at the University of Michigan. 

And though such a position didn't exist at the Department when she first looked into it, within two months the position appeared. Lisa applied and got the job. 

Lisa went on to spend 10 years there. After leading the career services for the department, she left to start her own environmental career advising business. 

How to Find a Green Job

If you've been pouring hours in as a volunteer or would like to spend more time and energy on the environment, you might be ready to find a job where you can pursue your passion for the planet while earning a good living. 

Here are some of Lisa's key tips for transitioning to a paid position in the environmental field:

  1. Take time to identify what you really love to do as well as what you'd rather not do.
  2. Review your expertise and identify "universal skills". These are skills that you may already have that are highly valued.
  3. Use LinkedIn to connect with professionals already doing the kind of work you're interested in. Join a group. Reach out for informational interviews.
  4. Review job descriptions on the Top 50 Green Job Posting sites or on LinkedIn. Assess how your background measures up. If you're missing expertise in a specific area, consider getting a certificate or volunteering.
  5. If you decide to start or help with a Green Team, that could demonstrate experience: volunteer coordination, event coordination, grant writing or fundraising, managing multiple priorities, and developing goals, vision and mission.

Here are some of the resources from Green Career Advisor to help you find a green job:

Start Your Own Biz

You might be thinking that you don't really want another job. You just want to do your own thing. That's great, too!

If you haven't been able to figure out how to do that already, Lisa's example shows that you can leverage your expertise to acquire new skills. Then use that new skillset to launch your own business.

In Lisa's case, she went from working in the area of Natural Resources, to working as a Career Advisor for the University of Michigan in Natural Resources. She was then able to start Green Career Advisor, as her own business.

Check out these episodes of the Green Team Academy podcasts to hear how other entrepreneurs have launched their own businesses around their areas of eco-passion:

Never Too Late

Lisa says that more and more people are seeking her out late in their careers. "That's deeply and personally inspiring!" says Lisa.

It's never too late to make a difference and to make a change.
- Lisa Yee-Litzenberg @GreenCareerGuru

on @GreenTeamAcade1 Podcast

Lisa says that she's seeing an increase in the number of people who are reaching out to her, from all walks of life. They are wanting to switch careers to do something more meaningful, and in particular helping the environment. 

"That is deeply and personally inspiring to me, because we need all the people we can get!" says Lisa. 

"Frankly, we have so many complex environmental, sustainability challenges, from biodiversity loss, to climate change, to plastic pollution, it's just inspiring to see that so many people are interested now to come forward and change careers, even late in life." 

"My personal view is that it's never too late to make a difference and to make a change." 

So, how about you? Ready to make a difference by getting a green job? Tweet @GreenTeamAcade1 and let us know!

GTA 070 Lisa Yee-Litzenberg Green Career Advisor Youtube

About the author 


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