Meet Rebecca Taylor, HST alum and program manager at the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, DC. She spent a couple years in China and Liberia before landing in Madrid to pursue HST’s Master in Corporate & Marketing Communication. Now, she’s using her comms degree for a great purpose: to get companies to invest in renewable energy.
We got the chance to talk to Rebecca about her experience at HST, how she started working in renewable energy, and some of her best life tips. Here’s what she had to say.
What were you doing before starting the Master in Corporate & Marketing Communication at HST?
Before I started my master’s, I was working in international aid and development. I had spent the three previous years working with the Peace Corps in both China and Liberia to build programs that would help to educate and empower women. I had always felt a call to public service and working to help others. Before the Peace Corps, I spent a year working at a tech startup after completing my degree in Gender & Women Studies and English Literature.
What are you up to now, post-graduation?
I work at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Washington, DC. My portfolio revolves around corporate engagement and renewable energy. The goal of my team is to encourage and help large corporations purchase more renewable energy. By doing this, we are contributing to the deep decarbonization goals necessary for the planet.
How did you get there?
After graduating from HST, I moved back to the USA and started looking for work. I was open to location and sector but wanted to use my new skills. I attended a job fair, and a few days later, my now current boss called and asked for an interview. In total, my job search took about three months.
What were the top 3 things you took from HST?
The top things I took from HST are:
- Confidence. I learned so much at HST and was able to engage with so many different smart and informed people. I remember on the first day thinking I was out of my element, but I focused on where I needed to improve and worked hard, and I was able to accomplish much of what I wanted to.
- Be curious and ask questions. There are crossovers in everything in life. The more you know about any topic, it will eventually circle back and help you in other areas. What this means in practice is being well-rounded. Listen to talks on subjects you usually wouldn’t, read daily articles that you know nothing about, ask questions, and be informed.
- People are just people. At IE University, you meet a lot of awe-inspiring and accomplished people. But what you realize is they are ordinary people too; they are worried about what they will have for dinner, what their dog is doing, and what the weather will be like. No matter how accomplished someone is, always approach them like a real, normal person. They want to be liked and are most likely willing to help you out and want to talk to people too. This lesson has been helpful in job searching. Reach out to everyone. Don’t be afraid to have small talk with your “big boss”—ask about their day, their lives. People are still people, no matter how accomplished they become.
Is there anything you would change if you re-did your master?
Honestly, no. I loved it. I enjoyed all the classes and being able to learn so much. I also had a fantastic time living in Madrid and getting to know all the HST students. I came with a set of goals, and I feel I was able to accomplish them.
Did any class or professor in particular at HST have a big impact on your choice of career direction?
I would say all the professors did a fantastic job of opening my mind to the possibilities. I took away the passion they all had for their lives and career and knew this was something I wanted to emulate. I will also say I enjoyed having so many female professors. My master’s class was a majority female class (86%), and they provided a lot of inspiration and also practicality about being a modern working woman. They shared their stories, and this, in turn, helped make me and my classmates feel braver and more prepared for the world. They demonstrated an independent, ambitious, smart, and kind type of femininity that we don’t get to see as often as we should!
Any fun hobbies or passions outside of the workplace?
When I’m not advocating for renewable energy, I like to keep fairly busy! I spend a good amount of time doing yoga, hiking, and reading.
And finally, how about some final words of wisdom for current HST students?
- Nobody cares about your career the way that you do. Focus on it, nurture it, and be assertive about it.
- Everybody has 20 minutes to help someone else out. I make it a point to spend at least 20 minutes a day helping someone else. This could mean helping a coworker, giving an informational interview, reviewing something for someone… This multiplies over time, and you build your network. But this has also taught me a lot about other things going on in the world. The more people you know, the more successful you will become.
Rebecca Taylor is an HST alum and program manager at the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, DC. After working in the Peace Corps in China and Liberia for a few years, she moved to Madrid to pursue HST’s Master in Corporate & Marketing Communication. In her free time, you can catch her reading, hiking, or doing yoga. Get in touch with her here.