Sustaining Ability

Policy / Sustainability / Media

Why I’m here

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A few years back, my brother (and long-time collaborator) and I were working on a new business card for me.  He kept asking, “what title should I put on it?”  I couldn’t answer him.

I had just finished graduate school three months prior, and my head was still whizzing with the typical titles one transitions into from a public policy program — research analyst, program associate, policy director, etc. — none of which sounded right.

Finally, he shrugged, taking out his notebook.

“Fine, let’s work this out. What’s your ideal job?”

If you aren’t kept awake at night by visions of business cards with senior management titles on them or pursuing an iconic career like being a fireman, astronaut or concert pianist, this question’s not so easy to answer. It gets tougher when you’ve just finished a master’s degree that’s the start of a career change, and want to bring together your abilities and education without leaving pieces of yourself in boxes in the proverbial attic.

All of a sudden, An image flashed in my head, and I took his notebook and sketched out what became the final design:

It occurred to me that maybe the problem was that I was trying to squeeze into boxes I didn’t fit in, when I should instead be creating one that fits me instead.

My “ideal job” combines my policy analysis skills, my knowledge base and fervent interest in sustainable business practices and how those affect the livability of communities, and a writer’s passion for finding the right medium for the right story. In other words, finding fresh ways and channels to talk about sustainable practices and public policies that could reinforce them.

It isn’t a job description; it’s a three-legged stool, an illustration of abilities, the ones that, at this point in my life, will sustain me.

Hence, the business card and my channels. I’m here to apply my sustaining abilities — synthesizing, communicating, storytelling and bridge building — and hopefully start a dialogue about any or all of these things:

  • how the media landscape is changing, and how that affects advocacy and message delivery;
  • how behavioral techniques, gamification, transmedia storytelling and other modes of engaging an audience offer new ways to motivate consumers to change their lifestyles;
  • how framing the debate around sustainability is just as important as having winning arguments or superior products;
  • how living our lives and reducing our impacts on the world aren’t mutually exclusive… in fact, bringing those two goals together is easier than any of us might think.

Those concerns have led me down a variety of paths so far — working in the fields of energy efficiency, urban waterway revitalization, aiding tech transfer from universities, and now renewable energy — and everywhere I go, I’m seeking out stories and images that move, building campaigns that engage and activate, finding fresh tools and avenues to communicate, and bringing people together.

Join me. Pull up a stool. Let’s get started.

Written by Steven

October 25, 2012 at 8:14 pm

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