Victoria Chames_1's blog

5 Reasons You Don't Want to Miss NI16

You may have heard by now, but in case you haven't: registration is open for the 2016 Net Impact Conference! Are you ready for more good news? Net Impact is offering 20% off registration passes. Taking place in Philadelphia November 3-5, this is your chance to make history in the city named by Lonely Planet as the top city to visit in the US. If we haven’t already convinced you, here are five reasons you need to attend NI16: 

1. Early registration prices make it incredibly affordable

You'll have a difficult time finding a more diverse, educational, and innovative conference at such a low cost. Register today to turn your passion in action.

2. Network with industry leaders and forward-thinking companies

Make invaluable connections with thought leaders at the 2016 Net Impact Conference's super-charged networking sessions. Or head to the Expo to meet over 100 companies - who love hiring Net Impact members.

3. Meet like-minded sustainability and social impact enthusiasts 

You'll have multiple opportunities to connect with key players and emerging leaders in the sustainability and social impact space at networking dinners, happy hours, parties, and more!

4. Get the skills and inspiration you need to make an impact

With over 80 cutting-edge sessions, more than 300 speakers, and three days of content, you'll leave Philadelphia with the resources and vision you need for a lifetime of impact.

5. Brand-new Platinum Passes

For those who want a deeper dive into impact topics, the Platinum Passes are for you.  You will gain special access to VIP receptions, career coaching opportunities, and more!

We are so excited for NI16 and we bet you are now too, so what are you waiting for? Register now to join us this November in Philadelphia. 

We hope you'll join us this November in Philadelphia
We hope you'll join us this November in Philadelphia

It’s Time to Start the Job Search: Here’s 5 Tips to Set You on Your Way

Congratulations, you’ve just graduated. After years of early morning classes, late night study sessions and countless tests, you have a degree and are ready to go out and change the world. Landing that first postgraduate job is the next step, but it’s not always as easy at it seems. You may be worried that you don’t have the perfect job lined up, you don’t have much relevant experience, or you are unsure of what job you should be looking for. Don’t panic, celebrate your achievement, and read these 5 tips on navigating what comes next. 

1. Network

Network, Network, Network. It seems repetitive and no doubt something you have heard a number of times, but any list of postgraduate career tips will have this on it. Leverage the network of people you already have (your professors, your friends, your family, your friends’ family, your family’s friends) and cultivate new connections. Informational interviews are a great way to get insight into career paths and meet new people to add to your existing network. Let everyone know you are looking for a job and let your network help you find one.  

Don't just look inside your current network; meet new people too.  Net Impact Professional Chapters and the Net Impact Conference are great places to make connections.

2. Know that your first job won’t feel like college

You’re schedule, assignments, and assessments will not feel the same. Adaptability is a key skill to understand and flaunt from the interview process through to starting the job. At university you are surrounded by ways to connect and make new friends; clubs, new classes, and college events. At the workplace these opportunities are less, so start off by making connections and learn ways to maintain them. 

3. Do your homework 

Whoa, more homework, but it’s important to learn as much as you can about the industry you want to work in, the prominent companies in your area, the day-to-day work, and the types of roles you would be most interested in. This will help you narrow your search and prioritize your opportunities.

4. Learn how to ace interviews 

Interviews are stressful for everyone, so don’t worry if the thought of them makes your stomach turn. There are many tips out there to teach you interview skills; websites such as Forbes, Monster, and CollegeGrad provide guidance. Practice what you learn, dress for the part, and know that each interview you go on, whether you get the job or not, will help increase your interview skills. 

5. Be open to different opportunities 

You might have a clear idea of what job role you are looking for, but understanding that you may have to work up to the job you want will help you in the long run. Internships or fellowships are great ways to gain experiences, or a great opportunity may arise in an unexpected field. There may be more than one pathway to your long term goal so be open to whatever opportunity comes your way.

For some, landing that first job happens quickly, while it make take longer for others. Stay positive during every stage of your job search and be confident in what you have to offer a company. Good luck! 

Students celebrating their graduation day before going out and searching for that first job
Students celebrating their graduation day before going out and searching for that first job

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3 Soft Skills Every Sustainability Leader Needs

Excelling in sustainability requires a science background and technical skills, right? Not quite. For the majority of really effective sustainability leaders, soft skills are far more critical to getting the job done. We’ve launched our Climate Disruptors program to help ensure all employees – no matter their job title or background – can launch and implement a climate-friendly project at work. 

So how do you know if you've got what it takes? Here are three soft skills every sustainability leader should develop.

1. Systems Thinking

The people who know the systems (and levers to pull) are best positioned to lead change. A systems-thinking leader can identify the greatest opportunities for influence when the going gets tough, as well as the risks facing consumers, suppliers, and shareholders.

You're on track if...you're an agile-minded thinker who sees the big picture while connecting seemingly unrelated dots.

2. Influential Communication

What’s obvious to you – what do you mean you don't understand the importance of responsible supply chains?! – may not be obvious to others. The trick? Learning how to translate your best ideas to target and mobilize the right stakeholders. For those who’ve mastered the skill, it’s well worth it. “A lot of what I do is inspire team members to get involved and enthralled, which ultimately makes my job easier,” says Paul Murray, who has led sustainability efforts at Herman Miller and now Shaw Industries Group, Inc. By coupling stellar organizational awareness and top-notch interpersonal skills, you’re well on your way to becoming a leader in the field.

You’re on track if…you can speak the language of many audiences, whether discussing ideas one-on-one, in a department meeting, or at a public community forum.

3. Peripheral Vision

True talk: leaders with peripheral vision possess a natural curiosity for their work, and that perspective pays off. Says Kirsten Olsen Cahill of Google.org, “There’s always a generic answer, but the really good solutions come out of where there is a great need.” Workers with peripheral vision always know what’s happening in the broader world of their industry, allowing them to quickly adapt and stay ahead of the curve.

You’re on track if…you’ve cultivated a strong understanding of key social and environmental issues, and have a network of internal and external stakeholders that can help craft appropriate response strategies for emerging issues.

Want more resources to lead sustainability at work? Sign up for Climate Disruptors!

Be a sustainability leader where you work
Be a sustainability leader where you work

The Insect Revolution: Insects as Protein for the Future

Environmental stresses, climate change, population growth, and the rising costs associated with producing animal protein all contribute to a continued growth in food insecurity worldwide. Other nations have found one solution to this rising problem with something we come across every day: insects. It's estimated that 2 billion people eat insects as part of their diets (Source: foodtank, foodtank.com); however, here in the United States there remains a stigma about eating insects as food.

Eating insects may seem far out of the realm of normal or desirable but there are health and environmental benefits to doing so. In a case of quality versus quantity, insects contain high-quality protein, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids in small portions. On the environmental side, the production of insects as food releases fewer greenhouse gases than current livestock production and insects can be fed on organic waste streams.

Insects are healthy for us; they provide food at lower environmental costs and they're sustainable, as they are in abundance throughout our planet. Many companies around the world are now developing delicious insect products. Here is a list of five organizations in the United States leading the way in insect food.

Big Cricket Farms:

It all started in 2006 when Big Cricket Farms founder, Kevin Bachhuber, took a trip to Thailand, where raising, eating, and using insect products are far more mainstream. After a particularly delicious encounter involving a few beers and some bowls of dry roasted crickets and bamboo worms, Kevin was sold on the idea.  Big Cricket Farms is the first American insect farm to have obtained a food-grade certification from the United States Food and Drug Administration and the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

Exo:

In January 2013, the founders of Exo ordered 2000 crickets to their dorm room.  Armed with just google research, a vague recipe, a blender and an oven, Exo was born.  Now, Exo is based in New York City, selling protein and lunch bars made from crickets.

Hopper Foods:

The mission of Hopper Foods is to help normalise entomophagy (eating insects) by creating great tasting, nutritious and healthy products that people will want to eat every day. From Austin, Texas, Hopper Foods makes and sells gluten-free granola made from cricket flour.

Six Foods:

Based in San Francisco, Six Foods was started by three women who are passionate about the healthy and sustainable benefits of insects. Named after insects’ six legs, Six Foods provides the product Chirps, which are cricket chips.

Tiny Farms:

Tiny Farms is an edible insect consulting firm based out of Silicon Valley. They use data to design efficient insect farms.

As we continue to feel the growing effects of climate change worldwide, we'll only need more innovative solutions, like using insects for food. Read about how some of our Newman’s Own Foundation Challenge participants are creating solutions to food industry issues. Visit Net Impact’s Newman’s Own Foundation page for more information. 

Are insects the next big food trend?
Are insects the next big food trend?

5 Easy Tips to Reduce Food Waste

It is estimated that worldwide, one out of every three bites of food produced is never actually consumed (Source: Ensia, Ensia.com). Whether lost through harvesting, transportation, storage, or thrown out after reaching the consumer, that accumulates to a lot of wasted food. 

While no one wants to admit to wasting food, we as consumers do it far too often. In the US, consumers waste more than double the amount of food the retail industry wastes. We know it has negative consequences for our wallet and our planet and we don’t want to do it, so how do we as consumers stop wasting food? Here are some helpful tips:

1. Understand the amount of food you are wasting: 

One way to help see how much food you are wasting is to compost. This allows you to see the food scraps pile up and therefore forces you to see what you are not using. There are also organizations out there to help; Food: Too Good to Waste offers a tool consumers can use to track their food waste on a weekly basis.

2. Change the way you shop for food:

Old habits are hard to break, but many organizations are trying to help consumers change their food routines. Food: Too Good to Waste also provides tools to make it easier to break your shopping tendencies and start new ones, everything from shopping list templates to meal planning apps. It is also suggested to buy less food products in bulk sizes and to only buy what you need.

3. Create meals out of old food:

There are plenty of cook books out there to help you find ways to use up food which may get overlooked (and eventually thrown away). One example is How to Cook From Scraps, but there are thousands out there.  A quick Google or Pinterest search, will help you find recipes where you will waste less food and be more creative with your meals. 

4. Learn how to properly store food:

Often consumer food waste is a result of spoiled food. Understanding the best ways to store food can reduce this. One study in 2014 found that US consumers worrying about food poisoning was one of the top reasons people throw food away (Source: Wasted Food: U.S. Consumers' Reported Awareness, Attitudes, and Behaviors,Plos One.org). For Real Simple's Food Storage Guide, the magazine consulted the USDA, food scientists, food manufacturers and more to ensure consumers safety and food freshness. 

5. When dining out, take what you don’t eat: 

Some countries consider taking leftovers home to be in poor taste, but “doggie bags” are actually a way to reduce food waste. Why throw away what you could eat later? 

Government agencies, environmental organizations, and nonprofits around the world are creating strategies to help us as consumers reduce the amount of food we waste. For our Newman’s Own Foundation Challenge, we have students from across the country, who are also working to educate and redefine our food waste tendencies. Visit Net Impact’s Newman’s Own Foundation page to learn more.

70 billion pounds of food is wasted in America each year
70 billion pounds of food is wasted in America each year

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Educating Sacramento's Children about Nutrition and Exercise with RIVER and the Newman's Own Foundation

What’s the best way to solve a problem? Prevent it from happening, of course. For the organizers of R.I.V.E.R., it’s an attainable goal when you’re talking about personal health. R.I.V.E.R., stands for Recognizing Illnesses Very Early & Responding, and since 2013, the University of California, Davis nonprofit has been helping others do just that. Serving the “uninsured, underserved, at-risk community of the greater Sacramento area”, the patient advocacy group is trying to prevent chronic disease by educating people (children, in particular) about proper nutrition and exercise.

R.I.V.E.R. was one of our Newman’s Own Foundation Challenge participants. As the competition winds down in its last month, we've been catching up with some of the groups to ask how it's been going. Below, R.I.V.E.R.’s co-director of nutrition, Janelle Manzano, answers some of our questions.

1. How is R.I.V.E.R. different from what’s already in the market?

Most public health programs aimed at children are only action-based. Our program is different, because we are aiming to teach children the significance and importance of a healthy lifestyle in terms that they can understand. Hopefully in this way, we can help kids find a tangible meaning for the word “healthy”, [so they live] long and happy lives.  

2. What’s been the most unexpected thing (aspect, challenge, happening, etc)?

Being able to execute all of our ideas as undergraduate students and see them become a reality. The assumption is that undergraduates do not have the time to accomplish such feats but all of the members in our organization have this incredible drive that allows them to use their passion towards improving the wellbeing of underserved communities in both Davis and Sacramento.

3. How on earth are you managing to do this and still be a student?

One of the first goals upon entering college is how to study effectively. After that it comes down to prioritizing your interests. Choosing a major you are passionate about can really help. Members in R.I.V.E.R. have a wide variety of interests, [including] pre-med, physical therapy, registered dieticians and teaching, [but] we all share a common level of passion for what we study [and we’re] utilizing it towards our efforts in R.I.V.E.R.

4. How has the Newman’s Own Foundation Challenge (NOFC) made a difference?

Together we have developed activities, [such as] food demos, which encourage children to become more invested and interactive with the meal-developing processes. [They] emphasize that everything about [food]-- from grocery shopping to cooking to eating-- should be a positive experience. NOFC has allowed for our  members to develop programs of influence and positive change involving children, nutrition and healthy lifestyles.

5. What’s your advice to people out there reading this? 

Our best advice is to be creative [and] be flexible! One must be adaptable to all types of circumstances.

Learn more about R.I.V.E.R. through its webpage, Facebook page, and Youtube channel.

This is part of an ongoing Q&A series between Net Impact and the teams participating in the Newman’s Own  Food Challenge. See more about the program and its participants here.

 

The RIVER team
The RIVER team

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Make History at the 2016 Net Impact Conference

Registration is now open for Net Impact’s 2016 Conference

The Net Impact Conference is the premier gathering of students and professionals who are committed to making a lasting social and environmental impact now and for a lifetime. Join us in Philadelphia to fast track your own path to impact and join a movement of others passionate about changing the world. It is our turn to make history.

For a limited time, Net Impact is offering 25% off registration passes.

Taking place November 3-5, 2016 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, the conference will provide excellent opportunities for students and young professionals to make connections and explore groundbreaking ideas in sustainability and social innovation. Schedules, speakers, and registration for the 2016 Net Impact Conference will be available here


Every year Net Impact holds a conference featuring inspiring, authentic, and energizing speakers who are making real impact from the boardroom to the classroom and beyond our borders.States. With 80+ sessions spanning 9 fields of interest, attendees will explore groundbreaking ideas, meet role models face-to-face, and navigate their career path to world-changing action.  This year's lineup of over 300 amazing speakers will include corporate executives, nonprofit and government innovators, and pioneers in finance, clean tech and international development.  

Last year's conference, held in Seattle, Washington with nearly 2,400 in attendance, featured keynote speaker Chelsea Clinton from the Clinton Foundation.  To see what you can expect this year in Philadelphia, take a look at last year's full conference program.

Philadelphia, a city where revolutions are made

The 24th Net Impact Conference heads to Philadelphia which was named the top city to visit in the US by Lonely Planet this year. Similarly, the New York Times ranked Philadelphia third out 52 cities for the best places to visit. The city is focusing on engaging the local business community in sustainability and is working to reach the goal to make Philadelphia the greenest city in the US by repositioning and repurposing itself as a city of the future.  NI16 will give attendees that chance to explore the Philadelphia impact community through off-site field trips to local businesses and organizations.

Register Now

We're heading to Philadelphia for NI16
We're heading to Philadelphia for NI16

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