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MMXX Mentorship Moment || Natalie Campos Goodman

CAVAN CREW

MMXX Mentorship Moment || Natalie Campos Goodman

Introduction and interview by Caroline Skou, Holy Cross '20

The first time I took a networking call it went horribly. My first mistake was incorrectly counting the hours between different time zones. At the time I was living in Scotland, and she was in California (that is an 8 hour difference, not 6).  The woman I had called insisted it was fine, but the tone of the call was set.  Stumbling through the questions I had prepared, I quickly learned that she had changed jobs completely. My roommate barged into my room to inquire about what brand of shaving cream I used. And I dropped the phone not once, but twice. When I finally hung up, I felt like I was waving a white flag in defeat. Networking was not for me. But that was about 2 years ago, and thankfully after a couple dozen phone calls, factimes, and conversations over coffee, I have gotten over any fear of networking. 

And I’m glad I did, because even though I still experience momentary anxiety right before a networking call, the advice and wisdom I gained from every professional has helped me get to where I am. And, I would have to say that some of the best advice I have gained recently has come from talking to Natalie Campos Goodman. 

Natalie is a Texas A&M alum, and the founder and CEO of IncentiFinds, the nation’s go-to database for green incentives where they connect property owners to incentives when they “go green” on their projects. For this installment of the MMXX series, Natalie gave great tips on how to maintain a symbiotic mentorship, talked about how her company stands behind the Black Lives Matter movement, and provided great anecdotes that show how hustling and perseverance are the driving forces behind achieving goals.

 

I thought it would be fun to start out with a fun question. What was your first 'non-corporate' job? What did you learn from that experience?

Mowing, lining soccer fields and setting up nets so that I could get into showcase tournaments. Such soccer tournaments had a hefty entry fee, and that wasn't something we could easily afford growing up. So, I offered to set up the fields for tournaments and in return my entry fee was waived.

Your future is worth fighting for, so don't think about how tough it is, just fight for your future and don't stop.

 

A lot of students recently had their internships cancelled for the summer. How would you suggest someone maintain momentum if they weren't able to secure a position for this summer?

Accept that things will be difficult. That's life. The sooner you accept that, the sooner you'll take on a resilient mindset. And that mindset will take you far.

When I was interviewing for my first internship with a large architecture firm, I showed up at 8:30AM and checked-in with the receptionist. She told me that another student showed up at 8AM and took my seat for the semester. I ended up buying the receptionist lunch to help me post-up in the lobby until the person, who should have interviewed me, was available. He finally came down the stairs at 5:30PM and said "well, you aren't going anywhere huh?" I said, "no sir, that was my internship seat and I plan to take the opportunity." I got the internship. 

I also graduated during the last economic downturn. I interviewed like crazy, and finally took a job that paid almost nothing. So, then I took a second job to help cover my bills. I worked two jobs for about 2.5 years and then finally landed a good paying job that was entry level. I had to put in extra time and take on more responsibilities to show that I was not entry level. I was moved up within 6 months to where my peers were.

Times are tough now. And times will be tough again. And something will always happen - good and bad. That's life. But your future is worth fighting for so, don't think about how tough it is, just fight for your future and don't stop.

 

Check out the Texas A&M Collection! 

 

Are there any online courses or certifications you would suggest a recent grad should complete? 

I'm big on experience over courses and certification.

Get out and run a volunteer group that you're passionate about. Engage with different people and stakeholders. 

I've run a volunteer group with the United Nations to educate on domestic abuse in the Marshall Islands. I had to work with so many stakeholders virtually and it opened my eyes to different cultures and mindsets. 

I've run a volunteer group of architects to rehab a tough drug corner so that an elementary school wouldn't have its students harassed on their way to and from school. It showed me how powerful small changes can be.

Volunteer. Engage. Gain insight.

BLM showed us that our culture, our leadership and our approach was right to put talent first and leave our biases at the door.

 

How is your company pivoting in light of the Black Lives Matter movement?

I love this question!

You know it's funny because we didn't really change. Here's why.

We are a female founded and led startup. At that I'm a Mexican-American. Our team is 75% Women/ People of Color; Our Execs or 50% Women/ People of Color. When we hired pre-BLM we sought talent and those were the results. 

BLM showed us that our culture, our leadership and our approach was right to put talent first and leave our biases at the door.

Regarding the customers we serve, no more than ever IncentiFind is a resource for this BLM movement. On our LinkedIn page we've started to address racial inequality seen in addressing climate change in communities of color. As we continue our national conversation on systemic racism, more advocates in the environmental movement acknowledge that energy efficiency programs can go a long way to help correct racial inequity in the United States.

Advocates believe that improving the efficiency of homes occupied by people of color to average standards can reduce their household costs by a third. In addition, making these home improvements can help 42% more homes occupied by and African Americans be energy efficient. Advocates say that state energy programs can help address the racial inequality issue by not focusing solely on owner-occupied, single-family homes, but fixing other types of property ownership arrangements that are larger than single-family homes.

IncentiFind's comprehensive database of #incentives can work seamlessly with state energy efficiency programs to build out an energy efficiency or renewable energy project in communities of color. 

IncentiFind's mission before BLM was to end systemic racism in combating climate change.

 

What does mentorship mean to you?

I feel that mentorship can be defined as someone you can be vulnerable with, and this person may be changing constantly depending on the experience you’re trying to gain. A good mentor will always help you move that needle in the right direction when it comes to your career. Trying to connect you with the next person in their network to help you out. 

Just remember that reciprocation is an important factor in every good mentorship. Make sure you’re not just reaching out to someone when you need help. Learn their birthday. Ask them how their day is going. Ask about their family. It’s important to make every mentorship a symbiotic relationship. 

Community is give and take, but let's get real for a moment - if you're not extending your hands to say "how can I help?" How are you strengthening your community? The lifeblood of community is what we put into it, not what we take. 

 

What does community mean to you? How has it shifted over the last few months?

I feel like there is so much polarization happening in our collective USA community. And that's the opposite of what it means to be a community. But I think it's because too many are putting their hands out to say "help me" when they should be extending their hands and saying "how can I help?".

Community is give and take, but let's get real for a moment - if you're not extending your hands to say "how can I help?" How are you strengthening your community? The lifeblood of community is what we put into it, not what we take. 

Contribute. Volunteer. Engage. Enjoy.

 

 

Check out the MMXX collection here

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