Green Economy Career Networking Event

Green Economy Career Networking Event

  • Friday, April 22, 2022
  • 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.  (lunch provided by Food for Thought)
  • Learning and Career Center (LCC) - 1375 S. Wolf Road, Prospect Heights, Illinois
  • Free
  • Attend virtually with our Livestream Link

Join us for our new Green Economy Career Networking event! If you are looking to begin or advance in the green industry, this is a great opportunity to hear firsthand from green economy professionals through a keynote presentation, career panel, and breakout sessions. You can also learn about how to improve your job search from resume development to interview skills.

10-10:30 a.m. — Check-in and Networking

10:30-11:15 a.m. — Keynote speaker: Jen Walling, Executive Director of the Illinois Environmental Council — Pursuing a Career That Protects the Environment

Jen Walling has served as the Executive Director for the Illinois Environmental Council since January of 2011, where she oversees the strategic direction and management of the organization and lobbies decision makers on environmental issues. Jen has drafted, negotiated, lobbied, and passed hundreds of bills in Springfield while working to build the power, expertise, and relationships of the entire environmental community. Jen holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She also received a juris doctorate from the University of Illinois College of Law and is an attorney licensed to practice law in Illinois. 

 11:15 - 11:45 a.m. — Lunch and Exhibitors

11:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m. — Panelists 

Hear industry professionals share their career pathway. Panelists include: Jacob Bond, CyberArk; Carol Carlson-Nofsinger, Harper College; Eric Gronwick, GRNE Solar; Sherri Sonner, Solar Power Midwest; Corey Wirrick, Hardwirre Systems, LLC; Karen Youngblood, Chicago Urban League

Jacob Bond  is a Security Operations Center (SOC) Analyst for CyberArk– a company that provides powerful Identity Access and Security Solutions to enhance the defensive capabilities of any organization. With six years of experience working in the tech industry, specifically information technology and cybersecurity, Jacob also teaches courses at Harper College. He trains students on the skills and knowledge required for a career in a variety of tech fields, with goals of enhancing curriculum to empower students and meet the needs of the ever-evolving industry. Experience with internet hackers at a younger age instilled in Jacob a great passion for cybersecurity. He wants to enable organizations to defend themselves against the plethora of cyber-related threats that exist, and shares that it is imperative for energy sectors to adopt and engrain cybersecurity protocols and procedures into their own practices.  

Carol Carlson-Nofsinger, JD, is an Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Paralegal Studies at Harper College. She received her B.A. from Elmhurst College and a J.D. from Loyola University of Chicago School of Law. After practicing law, primarily in the areas of real property law, contract law, and corporate law, for close to 30 years and teaching over that same period, Carol was hired by Harper College in August of 2019 to coordinate the Paralegal Studies Program. For 25 years, Carol has also held a Real Estate Broker Pre-license Instructor License from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to instruct people who want to become licensed real estate brokers in the state of Illinois. Training students in environmental law and how it impacts paralegals and real estate brokers in their jobs has been extremely exciting for Carol.  

Eric Gronwick  is an accomplished Senior Commercial Sales Consultant / Business Development professional at GRNE Solar. When GRNE Solar was a customer of Eric's, they were impressed with his work ethic and offered him the role of overseeing the commercial sales division. Eric enjoys the topic of health in general – physical health, mental health, and especially environmental health. Overall, Eric is deeply passionate about green economy and sustainability because it is the most practical solution to secure a better future.  

Sherri Sonner  works as Operations Manager for Solar Power Midwest, which is owned by Sherri and her husband. Together, they had also started and owned Illinois Energy Windows & Siding for over 20 years and began to get their bearings in the solar world as they were experienced in home remodeling. Now she and her husband dedicate 100% of their time to renewables. Sherri is passionate about technology, her two daughters are engineers, and she is constantly in classes to learn more. She says that being involved in solar has elevated her sense of sustainability and feels that the possibilities are endless. Anything we can do to replenish or reduce what we take from the world will prolong its offerings for generations to come.  

Corey Wirrick  is the energy consultant of Hardwirre Systems, LLC, which places a focus on energy independence and helping put people in control of their power. Corey believes that a green economy is about sustainability and clean energy and that everyone should be aware of its importance moving forward into any future. 

Karen Youngblood  is a Senior Project Manager in Solar at The Chicago Urban League. Karen received a grant to train as an energy auditor in 2010 that caught her interest in renewable energy and career paths in the industry. Career pathways in renewable energy are one thing that motivates Karen to work harder so she can share different opportunities to underserved communities. Karen has had the luxury of good mentors; she appreciates the value of mentors spending time to teach and invest in her development as a community activist. Karen’s motto is “To Serve Is to Lead” which is why it has been Karen’s privilege to serve this generation of young people to discover opportunities in the green economy that will emerge during their time.  

12:40-1:40 p.m. — Breakout Sessions

  • John Delurey, Vote Solar — Green Career Pathways and the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act
    • John Delurey  is the Senior Midwest Director for Vote Solar, a nationwide solar and climate justice advocacy organization. He has watched solar energy and other climate solutions grow from multiple vantage points, including the private, public, and nonprofit sectors, both in the U.S. and overseas. He believes that we must firmly disavow the inequities of the fossil-fueled past, while forging the clean energy future. This will require significant reinvestment into communities and workers to rebuild the economy to serve those so often left behind during economic transitions. John speaks Swahili, has Master of Public Service, and lives in Bridgeport, Chicago. 
  • Crafting Your Green Elevator Speech - Business and Career Services, AJC
  • Greening Your Resume: Create and Target Your Resume for Jobs in the Green Economy - Nancie Mohedano, Harper Job Placement Resource Center (JPRC)
  • Mock interviews (by appointment only - 20 minutes each) - Email to reserve your interview prior to the event. There will also be a sign up table at the event.

1:40-2 p.m. — Event Wrap Up

Topics include:

  • Updates on the renewable energy industry
  • The green economy career field
  • Industry opportunities
  • Specialized training opportunities
  • Career search support

The Green Economy Career Network Event is made possible by a grant from the Illinois Green Economy Network (IGEN) and through a partnership with Illinois workNet/American Job Center.  This is a zero-waste event, including using compostable materials and reducing waste.


Last Updated: 4/27/22