Make a difference this Earth Month – Choose Green Energy

Earth

You have the choice!

Energy deregulation gives you the choice to choose more green energy by choosing your supplier – while remaining with your current utility company for delivery, service and billing.

It’s your choice.

Do you want to save money on your electric bill and get more green energy? Learn how choosing your energy supplier and going solar can help. Follow the link to learn more and sign up: www.viridian.com/Lappinen

Earth Month

By day, Rachelle, working mother of two, serves as an education advocate and career advisor for MassEdCO. By night, Rachelle provided career consulting and works to promote green energy. When Rachelle is not writing her blog, advising her students, or coaching her clients, she enjoys camping and going to the theater with her two children.

Follow Rachelle on Twitter at @RLappinen and follow her blog at https://solutionsbyrachelle.wordpress.com/

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Celebrating Earth Month – It takes a Village

Earth MonthEarth Month Clean up – sponsored by Viridian

“The Earth does not belong to us: we belong to the Earth.” –  Marlee Matlin

This is Earth month, and tomorrow will be Earth day. While I love the fact that many people gather together to clean parks, and celebrate the earth, what I find sad is that we only focus on this once a year, while we should be focusing on this all year. What is equally sad is that we have to focus on this, and spend our days cleaning out plastic bags from ponds, picking up cigarette butts from parks and racking out trash off our street corners. Our children can teach us a lot about taking care of our earth. Bring your own bags to the supermarket. Recycle, reuse, conserve. Reduce energy consumption.

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Please share with me how you are making a difference this Earth Month.

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By day, Rachelle, working mother of two, serves as an education advocate and career advisor for MassEdCO. By night, Rachelle provided career consulting and works to promote green energy. When Rachelle is not writing her blog, advising her students, or coaching her clients, she enjoys camping and going to the theater with her two children.

Follow Rachelle on Twitter at @RLappinen and follow her blog at https://solutionsbyrachelle.wordpress.com/

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Do you have a Skype interview coming up? Here are 10 tips to prepare

Skype Interview

Employers are using Skype interviews to save time and money of transporting candidates.  Some employers are using the Skype interview as a screening tool, similar to the phone screen, with the added advantage of face to face communication.  In some ways, preparing for the Skype interview are similar to preparing for the phone and in person interview, such as doing research and preparing your thoughts to common interview questions.  The differences of a Skype interview to a phone interview is the face to face time you will get with an employer and your ability to read body language.

Here are some tips to prepare:

  1. Keep your profile professional – Make sure your profile picture of Skype is appropriate.  The picture you use to communicate with your college buddies may not be the picture you want your future employer to see.
  2. Practice Skype before the interview – Practices with a friend.  I had to do this for part of a course, and I was surprised to find out having the laptop on my lap would cause so much shaking.  Use a table and sit in a high back chair.
  3. Watch a funny video before – This will loosen up your vocal cords and help you relax during the interview.  I always watch Jerry Seinfeld’s – I’m telling you for the last time.
  4. Look at the camera, not the screen  –  The built-in camera on your laptop is at the top of the screen.  By looking at the camera, the employer will feel like you are making good eye contact, which is important for any face to face interview.
  5. Dress for the interview – Make sure you dress professionally for the interview the same way you would for an in-person interview, including you bottom half.  I heard of one candidate which was asked to stand, but could not, as he was sitting in his underwear.
  6. Prepare your setting – Make sure your surrounding is prepared.  Make sure there are no busy things behind you, piles, etc.  I suggest using a simple light blue background, (avoid white if possible, as it will make your face look darker) with maybe a potted plant or a wall picture.  Make sure you are also in a quiet place free from distractions. Avoid back-lighting – which will make you look like a silhouette.
  7. Test your video and sound – Make sure you test your sound and picture before the interview.  You don’t want to start the interview with poor sound or a microphone which is turned off.  Consider buying a headset with a microphone built in if your sound system on your laptop is poor.  Being able to listen and be heard are key to this interview. In my last interview, I had overhead florescent lighting, which created dark circles under my eyes.  I quickly found a poster board to put to the side of my laptop to create soft side lighting, and this cleared up the problem. Test for sound quality with a friend, and ask for feedback.
  8. Close other programs on your computer – It would not sound good to get email and Facebook notifications during your interview.  Additionally, too many open programs could deteriorate the sound and video quality.
  9. Watch your body language – Just as in an in-person interview, body language is important.  Be sure to sit forward, not slouched over in your seat.  Show the employer you have energy and are engaged.
  10. Watch the interviewer/s body language – Unlike a phone interview, you will have body language clues, so watch for them.  If it appears that the interviewer has heard enough, wrap up your answer.

At the end of the interview, write down notes, and follow up with a thank-you email, including an important point you learned from the interview.

Please share with me your experience.

One of my readers suggests thinking about acoustic issues – such as echoing or background noise. Warm sources of light, such as from the sun, give the best results.  Avoid wearing white. For men (or women) a light blue shirt or blouse works best. 

By day, Rachelle, working mother of two, serves as an education advocate and career advisor for MassEdCO. By night, Rachelle provided career consulting and works to promote green energy. When Rachelle is not writing her blog, advising her students, or coaching her clients, she enjoys camping and going to the theater with her two children.

Follow Rachelle on Twitter at @RLappinen and follow her blog at https://solutionsbyrachelle.wordpress.com/

P.S. I got a call for my Skype Interview when I was on vacation – I was at a camp in the Berkshires. I had to ask the director if I could use his office:

Becket

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In Honor of Women’s History Month

Barriers Women Face in a Job Search:

women

As a female career and academic advisor with a Minor in Women’s Studies, I often work with women job seekers on ways to overcome barriers in their job search, both at MassEdCO and in with my private career consulting clients.  Women face disability, race and unemployment discrimination, on top of gender discrimination, compounding the problem. This month is Women’s History Month, I thought I would focus on barriers based on gender.

We are the caretakers

As women are the child bearers and are responsible for most of the caretaking roles for their children and, often, their elderly parents, they are subject to a significant disadvantage on the job, as well as during the job search. The need for family life balance is held against them in hiring and promotion decisions. If they leave the workforce for extended times to bear and take care of their children, they find reentry difficult as employers are looking to hire people with current experience and set of skills.

Illegal interview questions

Although gender discrimination is illegal in the interviewing and hiring process, and questions about family status are prohibited, hiring managers to find ways to ask candidates roundabout questions to get them to share family information.  For example, in Cynthia Shapiro’s book, What Does Somebody Have to do to Get a Job Around Here? 44 Insider Secrets That Will Get You Hired,  she describes ways that hiring managers get candidates to reveal such info:

Interviewer: Sorry I’m late; I had to pick up my daughter from soccer practice.  Aren’t kids great? [Long pause, waiting for reciprocation]

Candidate: Yes, they are; how old is your daughter?  What position does she play?

In this exchange, the interviewer is looking for the natural reaction of most mothers to say “Yes, I know the story; I have three kids, and am always stuck with transporting them to their activities.”  With this admission, you would have voluntarily just given the interviewer knowledge of your children, something that they cannot ask you about directly.  Why do they want to know if you have children?  Statically, women are the ones who transport their kids to activities and stay home with them when they are sick, and employers do not want to deal with employees who they view at risk of being absent and needing flex time.

In Ms. Shapiro book, she states that, by sharing your status as a mother, you are at risk of losing potential job offers and making on average $11,000 less per year.  I highly recommend her book as a way to prepare for these kinds of questions, to be sure that you do not unnecessarily reveal private information in an interview.

Closing the wage gap

Another problem women face is in the pay they receive once they get a job offer.  Women currently earn 79 cents on every dollar compared to men, and black women earn 89 cents on every dollar that black men earn, who in turn earn 75 cents on every dollar compared to white men.  Translation? Women overall make less than men, and black women make significantly less than men or white women. Additionally, women make up less than 4% of CEO positions in Fortune 500 companies.

In Ms. Shapiro’s book, she asserts that is partly due to women not asking for more, and, by default, settling for less.  She advises that every woman should negotiate pay and benefits after a job offer and that by not doing so, she risks more than additional money.  Employers expect you to negotiate and will respect you more if you do.  In a book by Linda Babcock, called “Women Don’t Ask: The High Cost of Avoiding Negotiation–and Positive Strategies for Change,” she reveals how 46% of men always negotiate following a job offer, and only 30% of women do.  In a recent article in Fast Company, it was stated that by not negotiating pay, over a career, it could cost women up to $500,000 each, on average.  If you are not comfortable with negotiating pay, I would recommend working with a career coach, as well as reading these books and articles on the subject.

There are many more barriers women face in the job market, which is why they are protected under the Affirmative Action of US labor law.  I hope this blog helps my fellow women, both job seekers, and career changers.  Please share with me your personal stories of barriers you faced in your job search, as well as in your career.

By day, Rachelle, working mother of two, serves as an education advocate and career advisor for MassEdCO. By night, Rachelle provided career consulting and works to promote green energy. When Rachelle is not writing her blog, advising her students, or coaching her clients, she enjoys camping and going to the theater with her two children.

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“In every job that must be done there is an element of fun”

tumblr_m4m84tRQpx1ru1aayo1_r2_500.gif

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” – Steve Jobs

Mary Poppins - in your job search

ReBlogged by – Rachelle – working mother of two, serves as an education advocate and career advisor for MassEdCO. By night, Rachelle provided career consulting and works to promote green energy. When Rachelle is not writing her blog, advising her students, or coaching her clients, she enjoys camping and going to the theater with her two children.

The Princess and the Blog

As Mary Poppins once said, “In every job that must be done there is an element of fun.” In the wonderful world of PR, it is easy to get lost in the humdrum day-to-day tasks required of your job.

Today, I had the opportunity to attend a PRSSA meeting where guest speaker, Jason Brown, came and spoke to the University of Central Arkansas PR majors. Most students probably took away points about writing skills and resume building. While yes those are important, when listening, some minor but extremely important details stuck out to me. The importance of being yourself, finding joy within your work, and making sure that the work is meant for you are something that even Bert, Mary Poppins cohort, would tell any student they need to know.

Jason Brown is the senior PR specialist from The Communications Group. He spoke about primarily about writing for PR…

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Read Dr. Seuss’s Book, “The Lorax”, to Celebrate Dr. Seuss’s Birthday,n or Better Yet – Read it to a Child or Friend

March 2nd is Dr. Seuss’s birthday, he would be 112 this year. While he is no longer with us, his legacy lives on in the pages of his books. A book that all parents might want to read to their child…

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Source: Read Dr. Seuss’s Book, “The Lorax”, to Celebrate Dr. Seuss’s Birthday,n or Better Yet – Read it to a Child or Friend

ReBlogged by – Rachelle – working mother of two, serves as an education advocate and career advisor for MassEdCO. By night, Rachelle provided career consulting and works to promote green energy. When Rachelle is not writing her blog, advising her students, or coaching her clients, she enjoys camping and going to the theater with her two children.

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Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Why you will not fail to have a great career…

Career development

Developing your Career Development plan

For many years, I only say myself doing the same thing. I had a good job, with good benefits, and two children and I found that I used my children as an excuse. I could not go back to college as I needed to spend time with my children. I could not pursue a promotion or another career, as it would take time away from my family. In many ways, I was a perfect example of what Larry Smith described in his TED talk “Why you will fail to have a great career “:

I continued using these excuses until my company gave my the kick in the pants I needed, and forced me to develop a career plan.

The question of whether to develop a career development plan is one that many people ask when looking for a job or developing a career path. Three years ago, when I was unexpectedly thrown into the job market, I read many career books advising me to develop a career development plan. I resisted, as I believed I did not need one.  I believed that I knew what I wanted to do and how to get there and did not need to develop a plan.

Last year, after a lot of self-assessment, I finally decided to write a plan. I came up with a plan for the following year, typed it up with goals, and saved it on my computer. I did this, as my mentor, told me that if I do not write it down, it is not real. The problem with my approach is that I never looked at my plan after writing and saving it on my computer.

This past week, I met with my career coach (yes, even a career coach can benefit from another career coach). We decided that a better approach would be for me to not only type of my goals for the year, but to type another weekly plan and a monthly plan with places to check off if I am meeting my goals, and then to post these plans in places that I would see them every day. I am a visual person, and the visual reminder of these plans will remind me to stay on track. I will even use the wonderful rectangle device we all carry with us, my Smartphone, and post a copy of my plan on my Samsung phone.

My question is not where I see myself in 5 years, but where I see myself next year, and what steps that I need to take to get there.

Please share with me your experience on creating and using career development plans.

By day, Rachelle, working mother of two, serves as an education advocate and career advisor for MassEdCO. By night, Rachelle provided career consulting and works to promote green energy. When Rachelle is not writing her blog, advising her students, or coaching her clients, she enjoys camping and going to the theater with her two children.

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Watch these 7 TED Talks on Sustainable and Renewable Energy –

How do alternative energy sources help reverse global warming?

“Our population and our use of the finite resources of planet Earth are growing exponentially, along with our technical ability to change the environment for good or ill.” Stephen Hawking

Ted Talk Earth Environment

7 TED talks that will inspire you to action

1. Robert Swan: Let’s save the last pristine continent

“The Greatest Threat to Our Planet Is the Belief That Someone Else Will Save It” – Robert Swan

In this TED talk – Robert Swan shares how 2041 will be a pivotal year for our planet Earth – this will be the end of a 50-year agreement to keep Antartica, the Earth’s last pristine place, free of exploitation.

2. Paul Gilding: The Earth is full

“It takes a good crisis to get us going. When we feel fear and we fear loss we are capable of quite extraordinary things.” – Paul Gilding 

Did we use up all of our resources? Has Earth run out of livable space? In this TED talk, Paul Gilding suggests that we have – and talks about the devastating consequences.  This talk is both terrifying and hopeful.

3. Time-lapse proof of extreme ice loss

“We as a culture are forgetting that we are actually natural organisms and that we have this very, very deep connection and contact with nature. You can’t divorce civilization from nature – we totally depend on it.” – James Balog

This TED talk contains  new image sequences from photographer James Balog of the Extreme Ice Survey, time-lapse recording of our glaciers receding at an alarming rate – the most visual evidence of climate change.

4. Vicki Arroyo Let’s prepare for our new climate

“This study underscores the need to take swift, meaningful actions at home and abroad to address climate change.” – Vicki Arroyo

Let’s set aside politics – Scientific data shows that climate change is happening and that it is measurable. In this TED Talk, Vicki Arroyo tells us it is time to prepare our homes and our cities for this change – prepare for increased risk of flooding, drought, and uncertainty.

5. Donald Sadoway The missing link to renewable energy

“We need to think about the problem differently. We need to think big. We need to think cheap.” – Donald Sadoway

What is the missing link in renewable energy? Storage – we need the power to use the sun’s energy even when the sun is not out, even when the wind is not blowing. In this TED Talk, Donald Sadoway shows the future of large-scale batteries to store renewable energy.

6. James Hansen Why I must speak out about climate change

“The climate dice are now loaded. Some seasons still will be cooler than the long-term average, but the perceptive person should notice that the frequency of unusually warm extremes is increasing. It is the extremes that have the most impact on people and other life on the planet.” – James Hansen

James Hansen – a top climate scientist, shares with us a story of his own involvement in the science and debate over global warming.

7. Catherine Mohr The tradeoffs of building green

“I’m a geek. I’m an organic food-eating, carbon footprint-minimizing, robotic surgery geek.” – Catherine Mohr

This is a short and funny TED talk – packed with data. In this talk, Catherine Mohr explains how she built her own green energy house – showing us the real energy numbers and not the hype.


By day, Rachelle, working mother of two, serves as an education advocate and career advisor for MassEdCO. By night, Rachelle provided career consulting and works to promote green energy. When Rachelle is not writing her blog, advising her students, or coaching her clients, she enjoys camping and going to the theater with her two children.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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7 Ways to Use Power Networking Meetings to Unlock the Hidden Job Market

Networking in a Job Search

 

Networking is a process that involves people, effort, and information, and it is a process that gets results. I know firsthand of how powerful networking is, as that is how I obtained many of my jobs  After working in the insurance industry for over 12 years, I found myself in the job market. After much introspection, I realized I was better at helping other people find jobs, and that I was passionate about motivating others in their job searches. This blog was inspired by Eric Ross – who I have had the honor of connecting with years ago. His presentation on Power Networking inspired me, and has helped me get to where I am today.

The purpose of network meetings is to get in conversations with people who have the authority to hire you, and with people who know people who have the authority to hire you.  Networking is very hard, but it is extremely effective.  Career author, Martin Yates suggests meeting with people one or two levels above the position you are seeking, and while I agree with that, I have found that it is also helpful to meet with people in different positions, even in different industries, as you never know who they know.  Martin Yates also tells a story of how he actually got his first book published.  He was at a family picnic, and when talking to his great aunt about this book, she told him that she knew a publisher in America.  Now his books are in print in over 63 languages.

Only about 4% of jobs are found through the Internet alone (Online Job Hunting, by Richard Bolles), but about 60 – 80% are found through networking.  Networking is essential to speed up your job search and find jobs before they are advertised.

bilde

There are two kinds of networking.  One is “working the room” and the other is one-on-one meetings from “personal referrals,” and I suggest that you use both.  What I learned from Eric Ross’s presentation is I go to Local Chamber of Commerce networking events and exchange cards with five to ten people.  Conversations at these events are easy to have, as everyone there is looking to network.  If you are uncomfortable, ask a friend to go along, and approach people together.  After the event, I look through the cards, and decide who I would like to connect with, and call or write to them asking them if they would like to meet for coffee.  I also use a more formal approach of sending a networking letter asking for a meeting and then following up with a call.

  1. Strategies:

The basic strategy of networking is starting relationships based on mutual respect.  It is also necessary to gain the advantage of numbers, by searching long and hard through your contact list.  At each meeting, ask your contact who else they think you would benefit from meeting with.  When you contact these referrals, let them know you were referred: “David Roth suggested that we connect.”  Sell yourself with friendship and professionalism, and ask them if there is anything you can do for them.  The purpose of networking is to “pay it forward” as you never know when you will be of help to someone else.  Treat the meetings just as you would an interview, from professional dress to professional communication, letting them view you as someone who fits and could perform in their organization.

2.  Tools you will need for networking:

  • Networking cards
  • Contacts and referrals
  • Branding statement
  • A positive attitude
  • Professional documents printed on resume paper

 3. Source of Contacts:

Your initial contacts can be family, friends, former coworkers, alumni and members of professional organizations.  Networking meetings and events will offer more, and from one-on-one meetings, you will gain more referrals.  Don’t forget to ask!

Connecting with your contacts will depend on the audience.  Some people respond best with email, others like the personal touch of a traditional mailed letter, and all correspondences need to be followed by a phone call.  When calling, use a script if you are nervous, and be persistent.  Befriend the gatekeeper and try a minimum of 3 to 4 times.  Eric Ross suggests even trying up to 6-8 times if the contact is a warm referral and you have a good relationship.

4. Important things to remember for networking meetings:

  • Never ask for a job!
  • Never ask for help getting a job!
  • Never ask if contact knows of a job!
  • Avoid the term “informational interview”

I used the term “informational interview” when meeting with Career Services Directors, and that worked for me in that specific field. However, this term is sometimes used by companies as the name of the interview with human resources in the hiring process, and for that reason, could be seen as indicating you are looking for a job.  You are looking for a job, but you cannot ask for one.  Asking for one will make the contact uncomfortable and they may choose not to meet with you.  Instead, your aim is to impress them, so that when they are thinking of making a hiring decision, they will think of you.

 5. What to discuss:

Many people ask me what to discuss during the meeting.  Eric gave me the idea of coming up with a brief agenda, including 3 to 4 points to discuss.  You can even include these in your letter or email.  Suggestions would be questions about their organization, trends in the field, and the typical career path.  One question that I tend to start with is asking how they got started in their field. People generally like to talk about themselves, and this is a very good way of getting a natural conversation going.  The key is to listen more than you talk and learn as much firsthand knowledge about the industry as possible.

6.  Some additional networking meeting tips:

—  Remember, this is not a job interview!

—  Be respectful of the individual’s time—keep your meeting to 20 – 30 minutes.

“However, allowing an hour for the networking meeting.  Even if you have scheduled 30 minutes, your host may get very interested in the discussion and extend the meeting.  That has happened to me, many times.  Also, I recommend asking the other person—at the beginning of the meeting—how much time he/she is comfortable sharing.  That will help better manage the discussion.” Eric Ross

—  Come prepared with a solid list of questions.

—  Jot down notes either during the interview or immediately afterward so you remember important points (ask if   it is OK to take notes).

7. After the meeting:

—  Write and send a Thank You note immediately after the networking meeting.

—  If appropriate, maintain periodic contact to update him/her on your educational achievements or job search.

—  Possibly, link up with the person on LinkedIn.

Networking is best done in person, but social networking via LinkedIn and Twitter can help to cement relationships.  My experience is that people are much more willing to help people they have met in person for more than 5 minutes.  Of course, if meeting in person is not possible, a phone conversation or a Skype chat is the next best thing.

LinkedIn Moon

The possible outcomes of networking could be nothing, one or two good referrals, the beginning of a job discussion, or a call back for an interview.  Networking also results in new professional relationships and lasting friendships.  Be sure to give as much as you take.  You may not find a way to give back right away, but give back to your network whenever you can, by connecting them with new referrals or even by sharing new industry knowledge.

Please share with me your networking success stories, and let me know if there are ways I can help you in your job search.  Until next time, keep positive and keep networking.

By day, Rachelle, working mother of two, serves as an education advocate and career advisor for MassEdCO. By night, Rachelle provided career consulting and works to promote green energy. When Rachelle is not writing her blog, advising her students, or coaching her clients, she enjoys camping and going to the theater with her two children.

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The Other Inconvenient Truth – Agriculture and Global Warming

Irrigation

The Colorado River no longer flows into the Pacific Ocean. For thousands of years, the Colorado river flowed from its source in the Rocky Mountants in Colorado to the Pacific ocean. However, since the 1960s, the Colorado River has not flowed into the Pacific ocean. Why? The main reason is agriculture irrigation. Irrigation uses the biggest amount of all water uses, with each day’s water usage equaling enough water to fill the Empire State building 7,350 times.

Empire Stare Building

 

 

 

 

What do we use all this water for? Over a hundered billion gallons of water from the Colorado River is used to grow alfalfa in California, which is then exported to China for cattle feed. Alfalfa is water rich and “It’s a huge amount. It’s enough for a year’s supply for a million families – it’s a lot of water, particularly when you’re looking at the dreadful drought throughout the south-west,” stated Professor Robert Glennon from Arizona College of Law.

 

The Aral sea, formerly one of four largest land lakes, has all but dried up, which is very evident in the before and after picture. One result of the disaster of the Aral Sea was a last ditch attempt to build a canal from the lake to save these fishing boats:

aral before and after

Moynaq

 

Agriculture is the biggest producer of greenhouse gases – more than cars, more than the production of electricity.

In Jonathan Foley’s Ted Talk – “The other inconvenient truth” – he shares “It’s not that agriculture’s a bad thing.In fact, we completely depend on it. It’s not optional. It’s not a luxury. It’s an absolute necessity.”

 

Agriculture uses 60 times more land than urban and suburban areas. Right now, we have 7 billion people on this planet, and we will have 9 billion by 2040. We need to find more sustainable ways to produce our food.

What we have to do is work together to find an answer and “farming for a whole planet.” We need everyone at the table – from commercial, environmental and organic farming – we need collaboration – “Failure is not an option,”

By day, Rachelle, working mother of two, serves as an education advocate and career advisor for MassEdco. By night, Rachelle provided career consulting and works to promote green energy. When Rachelle is not writing her blog, advising her students, or coaching her clients, she enjoys camping and going to the theater with her two children.

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