In What it's Like we ask people working in a variety of roles across the range of sustainability sectors to tell us about their organization, their work and their career path. In this edition of What it's Like, we hear from Mary Solecki , a partner at AJW, Inc., a boutique consulting firm in the emerging technologies sector.
What is AJW's core purpose and mission?
We want to make public policy smart and responsive to new and emerging technologies. We want laws and regulations to facilitate the quick, large-scale adoption of more environmentally friendly energy and technology.
Tell us about your role
My firm works with new energy technologies to assess business strategy and market barriers. We work on strategic partnerships and external affairs for our clients. I lead our California office, with most of our firm located in Washington D.C. I advise any of our clients’ west coast-related questions, like where and how to deploy a technology for the best market potential. Long-term, I’m developing a portfolio of bleeding-edge technologies and working on policies that will help create new markets. Day-to-day, this involves lots of research and conversations with state and public officials, as well as with our clients.
How did you get the job? What has been your career path?
I have a background in sales and marketing. Later, I got an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School. Interested in the intersection of environment + business + public policy, I got a job with E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs) immediately after my MBA. There I worked on E2’s policy issues across the West Coast, bridging business voices with policy development. Through my work and connections at E2, I was eventually offered this opportunity at AJW. I saw it as a unique way to build my expertise and focus more on the private sector, so I embraced it as a learning opportunity.
Describe the AJW work culture- what's it like to work there?
We are a relatively small firm, with about 25 people on staff. It’s a culture of assumed trust, shared responsibility, and adeptness. We are focused on outcomes for our clients, and not on internal minutia. We are also committed to continuous learning – things change quickly in our field, and there are always new topics, technologies, or policies with which to become versatile. I don’t have typical days