Day in the Life of a Sustainability Consultant: Jennifer Woofter

At Strategic Sustainability Consulting, we're often asked what it's like to be a sustainability consultant on a day-to-day basis. Our general reply is that every day is different -- and that's what makes our jobs so amazing, challenging, and fun.

This summer, we've invited several of our colleagues to share a "day in the life of a sustainability consultant" snapshot. While not necessarily representative of their entire jobs as sustainability consultants, it's a window into what goes on in our crazy lives.

First up, SSC President Jennifer Woofter provides a glimpse into a recent Thursday:

I began my morning by getting the kids off to school. Normally my husband takes on this momentous task, but he's traveling this week so I'm on mom-duty. A little coloring project while I fix bagels and peanut butter gets everyone off to a good start.

After dropping the kids at preschool, I spend a few minutes walking around my yard, checking out the progress of our gardens in the front, side, and backyard. The flowers are looking magnificent, despite the heat...


 ...but the peppers are still looking a little hesitant. I turn on timer for the drip irrigation system that my husband rigged up, and decide to make a quick trip to the farmers market to see what kind of vegetables I can add to this week's menu.

I'm incredibly lucky to live a block away from the farmers market, so the trip (including walking back and forth) takes less than half an hour, and by 9:30am I'm back at home ready to begin my workday. (Note that in addition to picking up some marvelous-looking fruit, I've also procured scones for breakfast tomorrow!)

I finally sit down in my office to take my first call of the day -- a meeting with another consultant -- to debrief on a call we had yesterday with a prospective client. They are a Walmart supplier with a big corporate office, several distribution centers, a testing center, multiple sales and customer service centers, and contract manufacturing in China. This is right in SSC's sweet spot, so I'm excited to discuss next steps in the proposal process.

After the call, I spend about an hour going over email, scheduling meetings for the following week, and writing a blog entry for the SSC website to be published later in the month. Then I do a Skype call with Allison (SSC's Marketing and Outreach Manager) to hash out some internal scheduling issues and plan for the following week.

Finally, it's time for lunch and once again I take advantage of living close to our little historic downtown area. I walk a block and meet up with a friend for sandwiches at the local bar and grill. The food and company are good, but the service is slow, so I don't make it back home until 1:30pm.

Back in my office, I spend some time analyzing carbon footprint results for a client, and do a quick call with one of our consultants that is handling the associated Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) Report. Our quality assurance process has picked up a data input error by one of the client's facility managers, and we have a flurry of calls with the client in order to fix it up and finalize the assessment. Thank goodness for our team's attention to detail!

At 3:00pm, I stop work and pick up the kids from preschool. From 3:00pm to 5:00pm on most days, we spend quality time together. (I do, occasionally, have to schedule a call during this time to accommodate clients -- especially those on the West Coast -- but for the most part the afternoon is "kid time.") Today, we're making homemade refrigerator pickles from the cucumbers that I got earlier at the farmers market...

...and playing dolls and Legos. Apparently, it's "wear your socks on your hands" day. :)

Thankfully, my husband gets home from his trip on time, and we have a family dinner together before the bedtime routine begins. I'm happy to hand the kids off, and I squeeze in another two hours of work (mostly replying to emails, approving final documents to clients, and checking social media platforms). In the evenings, I tend to use my laptop and move to the downstairs desk -- it's away from the hubbub of bath time and gives me a more relaxed place to conduct my "post-5pm" work.

I kiss the kids goodnight, grab my already-packed bags, and head to the airport. This will be a quick overnight trip and I'll be back tomorrow night. Since I'm not traveling as much this year, I've lost my elite flyer privileges and find myself in coach. Oh well, it's only a 90 minute flight and I have my iPad -- so I can churn out a couple of additional blog posts during the trip.

I arrive at about 11:00pm at my hotel and collapse into bed. Well -- to be honest, I spend another hour catching up on email, social media, and one more phone call home to say goodnight. I turn the light off around midnight, and look forward to a totally different day tomorrow.