She was raised in a bilingual home, her parents having emigrated from El Salvador. Elena explains how she came to be working at an energy efficiency firm in Berkeley, having decided that she was really interested in sustainability and slowly navigated her way through the range of career options that this huge, emerging and confusing field offered her.
For ESL students who want to work in some aspect of sustainability, this interview is helpful. Elena is encouraging, “There is tremendous opportunity for anyone in this field whether you are doing solar panel installation or LEED certification, energy efficiency to policy and planning, this industry is going to grow immensely.”
She makes it clear that it is a confusing field. “… the first challenge that I encountered was trying to narrow down the focus to what I really wanted to do and finding what I was passionate about. The second challenge is that there is no designed or pre-constructed path for this job. People from all backgrounds can get in - you might have a background in economics or an in policy, and you still may be qualified for this position.”