Blog: Mary Templeton

With Michigan Public Act 295 the state must obtain 10% of its energy from renewable sources by 2015. As the wind turbine blades turn, alternative energy employment is becoming a vast new horizon for the region. Mary Templeton, an Executive VP at Wind Energy Consulting and Contracting, explains her career switch from the auto industry to renewable energy, and Michigan's efforts to foster talent in this new field.

Post 1: Sustainability, Diversity, and Portfolios

Sustainability, Diversity, and Portfolios

Overused words – perhaps.  You hear them repeatedly and in many contexts.  Sustainable living, sustainable design, sustainable environment, sustainable farming.  Cultural diversity, managing diversity, importance of diversity, diversified assets.  Job portfolios, renewable portfolio standards, financial portfolios.  

I think of these words as concepts to consider as our state and the people who live here face uncertain and critical times. What's going to pull us out of this uncertainty?  How are we going to adapt?  And how can we influence a sustainable, diverse, portfolio of jobs, energy, businesses, and leadership to create an attainable future for ourselves and for our children?

I believe the only way out of the crisis we is to create a sustainable and diverse portfolio of all of these components.  Whether we are talking about our own career portfolio, an energy portfolio, an economic portfolio of businesses, or our leadership portfolio, I believe that to flourish and grow, we must commit to changing the way we work and the way we live.  

Let's talk first about changing the way we live.   

Changing the way I live became a personal theme over the last year, after being downsized from an executive role with an automotive intelligence and marketing solutions company.  I realized this was an opportunity to reevaluate what was truly important to me and make a shift where I felt my contribution was going to make a difference.  I felt a strong pull to pursue something that would leave the world a better place than I found it.  Altruistic?  Absolutely.  Unrealistic or improbable?  I didn't think so.

My sister, a LEED AP Architect, and other friends inspired me to check out what was going on in the renewable energy industry.  I set out to learn as much as I could, as quickly as I could.  I attended conferences like the Renewable Energy Technology Conference (RETECH), the Great Lakes Renewable Energy (GLREA) educational sessions, the GLREA Michigan Wind Conference, Michigan's Energy Fair and the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) National Wind Conference. I engaged with local networking groups such as EcoTuesdays and worked with Paragon Leadership, a leadership development firm sharing in my passion and vision for developing leadership in environment and energy fields.  I volunteered my time in areas where I could make a contribution. I talked to anyone who allowed me the time to investigate the business, to network, and to learn how I could best serve this growing industry.  

Thanks to all of those who offered me their time, their insights, their interests, and their own stories of how they embraced change, I am now enjoying my working life more than I ever have. 

I love the opportunity to learn about something I feel so strongly about and to help a company grow to serve the needs of our customers in a way that so clearly impacts the future of our world.  

Here's my question to you: What are you doing to create a sustainable, diverse portfolio for your own career?  Regardless of where you are now, or where you have been, how have you adapted for the future?  How have you diversified your assets to create your own portfolio of offerings for the marketplace of the future?  And most importantly, how have you integrated what's most important to you in your job where most of us spend at least one third of our time, and have you created balance in other areas of your life that are perhaps more important than any job you will ever hold? If you are interested in renewable energy, the upcoming AWEA Small and Community Wind Conference or Environment and Energy Epprentice™ may be a place to start exploring.

As we all know, gone are the days of spending your entire career at one company.  And for many, gone are the days of working in a single industry.  Even though it's not easy, I am happy to say so long to the one company career, and welcome to creating a future based on a sustainable, diverse portfolio of assets and interests.