Last year, Katie Montgomery attended the Net Impact Boston Career Summit as a young professional interested in sustainability and the social impact space. While the keynote speaker was interesting and the panels thought-provoking, she was most impressed with the Career Expo portion of the event where she could network with local companies and non-profits, as well as other professionals, looking to make a meaningful difference through their careers, and help her start her own impactful career. We sat down with Katie to get her take on mastering the NIB Career Summit, which takes place this Friday, February 27th. Register before 6 PM to attend this year’s event.
Why did you attend the 2014 Net Impact Boston Career Summit?
At the time, I was a graduate student studying Corporate Sustainability and Innovation at Harvard Extension and was most interested in networking with other young professionals and graduate students. Additionally, as a junkie for learning new things especially in the sustainability field, I was thoroughly impressed by the line up for the keynote and panel sessions and didn’t want to miss out. The Career Summit was a great place to source informational interviews at companies I was interested in, gain a better understanding of the industry and research potential entry points for my new career I was endeavoring to start. Ultimately, it was a great opportunity to apply for positions in the social impact space at companies and organizations that are doing some really impactful stuff.
What was your experience like at the Career Expo portion of the 2014 Career Summit?
The people who attend the career summit are bright and eager individuals, with unique and strong perspectives, while maintaining a respectful ear and a keen interest to debate. It was an invigorating and inspiring way to spend the day both with those already in careers many of us aspire to enter, and with those who are as hungry for change and the ability to influence the world.
How did you come across New Sector Alliance and land your internship that turned into a full-time job?
I stumbled upon the New Sector Alliance table at the end of the day. I very bluntly told Zack, the program director who was working the booth, that I had never heard of New Sector before, but I was interested in learning more and asked if he could suggest where I might fit in. I followed up with him, listened to his advice, applied and was accepted into the fellowship.
I was placed at Teachers21, a great education non-profit organization, based on what I wanted to learn–not only the skills I already had– and within a few weeks was hired to stay on. I love my current position where I have the chance to meaningfully impact the work being done every day and I strongly recommend New Sector as a fantastic career acceleration program. I am also incredibly grateful to Net Impact for bringing us together.
What advice would you give to someone in your shoes for this year’s Career Summit?
Bring a resume and a smile. Ask questions, but know when to graciously thank the person for their time, ask for their contact information, and walk away. Your time and theirs is valuable–use it well. Collect business cards and follow up with every one of them, even briefly. Do your best to research, but remain open to opportunities. Find ways to connect with others, don’t just talk about yourself and what you are hoping to accomplish– a job is not your main priority today– connections and friends offer a far greater long term benefit than a completed application.
What was the best part of the 2014 Career Summit for you, aside from landing a job?
I loved the panel on Effective CSR Marketing: Aligning CSR Strategy with Brand Marketing Objectives. It brought together my undergraduate interests in psychology and business, with my graduate work in CSR. The panelists were engaging and I was surprised when they shared not only their best practices, but also their biggest challenges and hiccups in marketing their organization’s CSR strategy to gain buy-in from stakeholders, engage their customers, and avoid green-washing.
Sign up today for the Career Summit on February 27 and find your next career move!