Chicago Green Jobs

Green Job Profile #1: Associate Director for Resource Development, Growing Home, Inc.
March 11, 2009, 10:55 pm
Filed under: Green Job Profiles

Defining just what exactly constitutes a green job is quite the hot topic in my field these days for one big reason: all stakeholders have to agree on terms so we can create a standard metric for successful green job creation. This is, of course, a very important goal, and developing solid metrics is one of my pet passions. Nevertheless, I suspect that most people who are looking for a green job here in Chicago know what they’re looking for: work that allows them to direct their talents, skills, and energy towards creating a positive impact on the planet and the community.

There are jobs in just about every industry and at every level from intern to CEO that fit that description, so I’m starting a new feature to dig into the details of what the green jobs are, what training you need to get them, and what they’re like on a day to day basis. Rebekah Silverman of Growing Home, Inc has been kind enough to kick us off!

Green Job Profile #1

Organization: Growing Home, Inc. (
Title: Associate Director for Resource Development
Training/Certifications: MFA in Writing, grew up on a farm in South Carolina

So What do you do all day?

Growing Home is a small (but growing!) organization, so I wear a lot of hats. My main role is fundraising; I work directly with our Executive Director to plan and execute all our funding strategies, including individual giving, foundations and corporate grants, etc. I also do Growing Home’s graphic design, maintain our website and write many of the blog posts, oversee our PR/marketing, and dabble in event coordination. What I do all day is sit in front of a computer, though! I’m one of Growing Home’s three “office” staff. I really like to get away from my desk and visit our farms.

More details on the training and skills needed for this job (and some excellent book recommendations) after the jump!

What did you do before you got this job?

My professional background is in publishing and academia – I have a Master’s in writing from Purdue University and most of my past jobs have either been in editing or publishing. I grew up on a small sustainable farm in South Carolina, though, which is what drew me to Growing Home initially. Despite the fact that I spend the day in an office, I do have a working knowledge of horticultural techniques, organic certification, growing in hoophouses.

What impact do you have on the planet and/or community through your work?

By raising money for Growing Home, I facilitate the important work that our farmers and job training staff do. That translates into lots of things: production of a huge amount of food grown locally and organically, keeping folks out of prison and working.

What 3 essential skills are needed to do your job?

1. An ability to write well (and quickly)

2. To understand the needs of many audiences

3. To think creatively under pressure.

What 3 essential personality traits that help you succeed in your job?

1. An extremely one-track mind. Once I get started on something, I can’t even
hear other people talking to me. (Is this a positive or a negative?)

2. Straight-forwardness. It helps when you’re asking for money!

3. Passion.

What is the least glamorous aspect of your job?

Data entry. Also: getting turned down for grants I’m really excited about.

What is the most influential book you’ve read on sustainability?

I actually made up a list earlier today for our newsletter (one of our farmers is compiling a list of books on food and farming) that I’ll share:

– A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold
– The Beginning and the End and Other Poems by Robinson Jeffers
– The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss (It’s made up, but their gumption is quite inspiring)

What do you do to keep current on your field and/or expand your knowledge and skills?

I spend a lot of time reading online.

What do you think is a growth area in the green jobs sector right now?

I guess we’ll see how the economy goes…And how the stimulus package’s green jobs segments play out. I’m excited that Van Jones is going to the White House, though.

This will be the first of many green job profiles, so two questions for the peanut gallery! First, are there any other questions you’d like to hear the answers to? Second, are there any specific jobs you’d like to learn about? Also, if you’d like to talk about how awesome your green job is, write a comment and let me know!


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