Changing jobs can be a little scary – Will I like the work?, Am I in over my head? Will someone steal my yogurt from the fridge? Thankfully, my recent job change into the Department of Environmental Protection allows me to combine my career experience with a personal passion near and dear to my heart!
I am the newest member of the outreach team in the Office of Sustainability. I’ll be laser-focused on developing partnerships and building relationships to support DEP’s programs and services to brand Montgomery County the national leader in preserving the environment!
Before making the switch to DEP, I had been with the County Department of Economic Development for more than 17 years retaining, attracting and assisting businesses to relocate to, or stay and expand in, the County. I facilitated B2B opportunities, forged collaborations and partnerships, and encouraged the cross-pollination of ideas.
A few years ago, my outreach portfolio expanded to include “green” businesses. I didn’t know businesses could be green and I was skeptical.
I envisioned meeting with business owners wearing Birkenstocks, and growing wheat grass in their office. Instead, what I discovered was a group of energetic, engaged and committed individuals devoted to creating technologies and solutions that were good for business and the environment. (With the occasional pair of Birkenstocks.)
Working with the Green Business Certification Program and the certified businesses and restaurants was the beginning of a fast-track education. I became enlightened – the moniker “green” was not simply a buzzword. It had substance.
In order to better understand the businesses I was working with, I became the “green warden” at my office. I turned off overhead lights in offices and cubicles (whether they were occupied or not) and computers at the end of the day. I displayed posters in the kitchen above the recyclable cans, and pulled reusable microwave containers out of the garbage, rinsed and placed them in the proper container. I realized that I could not single-handedly change learned behaviors overnight, but I could lead by example. Just like the green businesses I was working with.
So I continued doing my part, and I slowly noticed that the recyclable bins were fuller and paper magically disappeared from garbage cans…… baby steps!
My fast-track “green” education provided an excellent foundation to springboard into this new and exciting role in the sustainability arena. I look forward to working with the community to inform and educate on the benefits of practicing sustainability. The connections and contacts I have made over the years with the business and non-profit communities, local chamber organizations, and county and state government officials will dovetail nicely and permit me to move nimbly to develop partnership opportunities and leverage assets that produce quantifiable outcomes.
If you would like to meet and talk about our mutual goals and interests, please shoot me an email and I’ll make it happen!
You’ll find me visiting farmer markets gathering the tastiest and ripest fruits and veggies. The season’s bounty inspires me to create food art! I am a pseudo-gourmet cook and aspiring pastry chef, so I keep fit by exercising 3-6x/week with Zumba, PowerBang!, Pilates or Yoga. It helps level the caloric playing field!
I love to garden (a word that sounds so genteel, but is anything but), travel (although my passport has seen limited use), explore nature trails and waterfalls; binge watch most anything on Netflix. I recently became obsessed with Game of Thrones during HBO’s airing of seasons 1-6 over Fourth of July weekend.
By Cindie Harrison, DEP’s Partnership Development Manager, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 240-777-7763.