Some thoughts about my participation in the Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program, 2015

by Mette Dam, Denmark, ELP 2015
Written on July 27, 2015.

Three intensive weeks have passed at the Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program (ELP) at U.C. Berkeley where a full loaded program embraced me and the other participants dealing with many new environmental issues, skills and knowledge.

Because of that, I am full now. Full of new knowledge, skills, inspiration and motivation, which I will take with me back home in order to further develop my new skills and tools and take advantage of all the practical experiences I was introduced to at the ELP and integrate them in my future professional life.

However this blog post will be about another important part of the ELP: the value of being a part of the growing international ELP network.

The program is mainly for environmental professionals but I participated even though I am still a student as my university, Copenhagen University as part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU) together with among others, U.C. Berkeley, which allowed me to join the ELP together with five other students from different universities.

As a student the value of participating in the Beahrs Environmental program is definitely something special. I have not previously taken a course where people with work experience also participated, so for me it was really interesting and different to get hands-on inputs instead of the academic inputs that I am used to.

Discussing real cases and experiences within the environmental field with professionals from all over the world, all within the environmental field but with different experiences is indeed more exciting than discussing issues with Danish students at my own university.

All the different discussions have broadened my view of how I can work more effectively on my own projects and what kind of challenges I, as a future professional or leader, can meet and how I can overcome these.

I still have one and a half years left before I am done with my Masters, meaning I have to start thinking about my future and what kind of job I want to strive after. This can be a rather confusing time since there are many possibilities. However, being a part of the ELP has certainly provided me with new inspirations of what kind of jobs I can strive after as my overview of the many options within the environmental field has broadened. In general, it was interesting to hear about how the other professionals’ careers have developed over the years and what kinds of ideas they have for their future professional lives.

I am convinced that I will use the ELP network in the future whenever I need to discuss an issue I face in my professional work life, want to connect my experiences with other ELP members’ practices or just talk about the development of my professional career as many of the other ELP members have become some kind of mentor for me.