Seven years ago, Lauren Glickman found herself at a crossroads. Turning thirty, her steady job overseeing digital media strategies and online advocacy for the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) suddenly ended due to downsizing. Glickman turned uncertainty into success, making the leap into freelancing before the “gig economy” was trendy. She’s never looked back.
Today, Glickman is the managing partner of RenewComm, a full service marketing and PR firm she cofounded with former AWEA executive Peter Kelley in 2018. She oversees a portfolio of some of the top names in cleantech, including Women of Renewable Industries and Sustainable Energy (WRISE), the Business Network for Offshore Wind, Encore Renewable Energy and Clean Energy Associates. RenewComm clients are well positioned as industry leaders and regularly featured in publications like Bloomberg, Greentech Media, REcharge and others.
Glickman is also an adjunct professor at The George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs, teaching undergraduate, graduate and executive education courses and seminars on social media theory and practice. This year, she was inducted into the #solar100list, profiled as one of the influential Women in Wind and named The Cleanie Awards’ Rising Star Under 40, a testament to her years of proven success and overwhelming potential.
As we enter 2020 and the next season of The Cleanie Awards, we connected with Glickman to get her advice for the next generation of cleantech leaders.
- Recognize the Power of Your Network and Digital Rolodex. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to think of every opportunity you have professionally as a networking opportunity, whether that’s a happy hour hosted by the local eco club or a trade show conference. Every time I attend an industry event, I collect business cards and reach out to new contacts within 24-48 hours on LinkedIn. After AWEA, I changed my LinkedIn profile title to “freelancer” and people in my network began contacting me to help with social media campaigns. That launched my entrepreneurial career.
- Get Involved in Organizations. There are some great organizations that want to help the next generation, including WRISE, Truman National Security Project and the Clean Energy Leadership Institute. Tap into their networks. Members are often willing to offer guidance and help open doors.
- Play to your Strengths. When I first started on my own, I was constantly battling imposter syndrome. I felt very young and like I didn’t have the depth of experience people wanted or expected from a high level comms person. I overcame it by focusing on my expertise in digital communications. At the time, using Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn as a marketing tool was unique, and I specialized in it to distinguish myself. I was almost exclusively offering social media support, and as I built client relationships, my service offerings expanded more broadly into communications, including media relations, content writing and bigger picture strategy.
- Keep Your Options Open. Even though my initial specialty was social media, I didn’t let that limit me. Particularly in the beginning, when people reached out to me about something I wasn’t currently doing, like designing a WordPress site or curating a press list for news distribution, I was fully ready to add new skills to my service offerings. I said yes to anything anyone wanted and figured it out.
- Be a Knowledge Sponge. Knowing the ins and outs of an industry will give any person the competitive edge. I take every opportunity to learn and familiarize myself with the industry and encourage others to do the same. I also constantly read articles from publications like Greentech Media and keep myself informed. There are a ton of free webinars and podcasts to help people understand industry nuances. A favorite podcast right now is the “Experts Only” podcast produced for former client and 2018 Cleanie Awards winner CleanCapital as well as ”Suncast,” which I recently guest hosted at Solar Power International.