As a long-time attendee and organizer-emeritus of Green Drinks chapters, I thought the event had cornered the market on green-focused networking events. Unfortunately, over the years my frustration has grown with the open format, to the point where I threw in the towel when Green Drinks SF announced it would be adding Speed Dating to the evening, confirming my suspicions that a lot of people use these events as an interest-targeted dating pool. Then I discovered EcoTuesday.
Two longtime friends Nikki Pava and Oren Jaffe founded EcoTuesday in San Francisco in 2007. The two brainstormed possibilities for an event that would provide a shared context for all participants so they could connect while learning about sustainability. Taking place on the 4th Tuesday of the month, each event features a keynote speaker and an introduction circle where each attendee announces their name, affiliation, and a very brief reason why they are passionate about sustainability.
Ah! A little structured networking! Everyone in attendance was there with a purpose related to their business in mind.
This month, Sungevity's founder Danny Kennedy addressed the crowd and spoke about the growth and opportunities in the solar industry. For the record, I actually found out about ecoTuesday because Sungevity mentioned on Twitter that Danny would be speaking. For those who have never heard Danny speak it's a real treat. Danny is smart, witty, entertaining, and unwaveringly passionate about creating a "rooftop revolution."
Perhaps one of the most memorable, exciting, and yet disturbing facts Danny tossed out to the crowd was that the number of people working in the solar industry in the US is equivalent to those working in the steel industry. While it's exciting to see solar growing so much, it's also sad to stack that up against the decline of a once-great industry that put a lot of America to work. Hopefully, according to Danny, these crossing employment numbers will continue to rise and solar job creation will continue to put more Americans back to work. Now that a better way of looking at that fact!