NIB Career Q&A: Amy Lipman, Environmental Sustainability Program Manager, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Amy LipmanAmy Lipman, Environmental Sustainability Program Manager, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a panelist at the Net Impact Boston Career Summit on February 21st. Here’s a sneak preview of what’s in store.

What inspired you to pursue a career with positive social or environmental impact?

I can’t imagine doing a job that had no social or environmental impact. Growing up in Brockton, the problems that needed to be solved were so pervasive and they hurt a lot of really good people. Knowing that, it was hard to imagine spending my life making problems worse rather than better.

What’s the most interesting/most fun/most challenging aspect of your job?

The most challenging and fun part of my job is redesigning processes in a system as complicated as an academic medical center. My job is one big game of Jenga. I need to change our current operations to positively impact the environment without negatively impacting patient care, hospital finances or employee work flows.

What advice would you give to those looking for a career with a positive social or environmental impact?

I have lots of advice from lessons I have learned along the way, but I’ll keep it to a few salient points:

  • If you are passionate about spending your career having a positive impact, don’t settle for less. That said, be open to jobs/experiences that may not have obvious social value if they could a) teach you a skill that you can then use later to have a positive impact and/or b) could lead to a job that has a clearer social value.
  • Be willing to work on more than one issue. There are lots of problems that need fixing and they all matter. If you want to find a job with an organization that already exists, you may have a better chance of finding a fit if you are willing to consider working on a broader variety of issues.
  • If you find yourself needing to take a job in the short run to pay the bills that is more lucrative than a job with positive social impact, commit to living on only half the salary (save/invest the rest) so you don’t get used to the high salary. Once you do, it’s hard to take the pay cut.
  • Be entrepreneurial. Most problems are still in need of innovative solutions. If the perfect solution already existed, the problem would no longer exist. See this tight job market as an opportunity to start a new venture based on an idea you think just might work.

Sign up today to come to the summit and join the panel  “It’s Complicated: Using Cross-Sector Collaboration to Tackle Food Waste Issues” and hear Amy speak.

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