It could not have been a more perfect, chilly night to have the Women’s Environmental Network’s first ever Cozy Career Conversations. Twenty-one folks braved the zero degree evening to have conversations about careers with Mimi Daniel and Katie Jones.
The group met at The Lab, a self-pour testing tap room. The Lab is a pilot brewing facility that offers assistance to brewers to refine their recipe and get customer feedback on their product. And the perk for customers is getting a chance to taste some of the newest beverages in the Twin Cities.
The first conversation was with Mimi Daniel, M.Ed, PMP. Mimi is the Career Pathways Project Manager for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Mimi started the conversation by sharing her career journey and what led her to her current role. After describing her career path, she emphasized that all experiences are useful and help you prepare for your dream position.
Mimi was excited to discuss the focus the DNR has been placing on diversity, equity, and inclusion. The DNR currently has its first female commissioner, Sarah Strommen, who embraces this new focus of the organization. Mimi said the workplace needs to reflect the communities, and the DNR is pursuing that work to diversify its staff.
In her role with Career Pathways, Mimi works to build the capacity of others and the institutions she has served. Career Pathways, a program sponsored by the DNR, the Conservation Corps of Minnesota and Iowa, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, and the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources, supports underrepresented populations in the environmental field, with a goal to increase graduation rates for those populations. Those accepted into the program receive a stipend to help with educational expenses, a mentor in the field, and an internship for that early career experience.
Mimi Daniel and Michelle Palm leading the conversation
After a short networking and snack break, we heard from Katie Jones, the Community Program and Policy Manager for the Center for Energy and Environment. In her role, Katie works with cities in developing and implementing energy disclosure policies and programs.
Katie shared her story of a winding path to get into the energy field. She began her career with a degree in civil engineering, made her way into energy benchmarking with the Green Corps, gained experience in the public sector, and then found her way to the Center for Energy and Environment.
Katie has found support and success through various mentors and groups of like-minded women. She highlighted the importance of finding a mentor and a supportive community in your field for that extra support in the workplace.
Katie Jones and moderator Michelle Palm
Both conversations ended with a question of what advice they would give to young professionals, and their comments were to be patient with your career journey; seek out a boss you enjoy working for; do not compare yourself to others, only yourself; and to set goals each year and reflect back on whether they were achieved. All encouraging words for a cozy evening!
For more information about the programs these women are working with, see the links below: