Not all superheroes wear capes - Joanna Tomlinson MEI
Joanna Tomlinson was not always destined to be an energy superhero. Having studied Building Surveying, she worked as a Surveyor for several years. Yet she always had a keen interest in climate change, solidified by her role as the green champion in her department. By 2009, the call to arms of growing climate issues meant she joined a real estate advisory firm as a Junior Sustainability Consultant. However, she was met with resistance and explained the lack of drive behind any real change regarding carbon emissions. “Whilst I was trying to flaunt a superhero cape back then, it was not easy,” explained Joanna “Real estate companies were only interested when saving cash, not carbon. The CRC Scheme was viewed as an expensive burden.”
Being ahead of the curve on low carbon topics meant Joanna had to continuously learn and grow within in her field. The MEI (Member of the Energy Institute) title helped her to reinforce her knowledge and the content she produced, as “it reassures clients and lends an air of respectability on audits delivered,” added Joanna.
10 years on and the energy landscape and people’s attitude towards it have dramatically changed. Carbon emissions are top of everyone’s agenda, and environmental meetings have migrated to the top board rooms with invested interest from senior management. There is a distinct competitiveness to becoming the ‘most sustainable’ business with a hands-on approach to climate change. Joanna was at the forefront of this shift, helping an increasing number of clients with policy writing, strategy formation, energy monitoring, sustainability audits and energy management systems.
In her last role, Joanna was the only Environmental Lead for a construction firm, responsible for delivering energy and environmental training for all new starters. Joanna emerged as the ‘go-to’ person at the firm for sustainable and low carbon matters. “My position reflected a trust and ultimate desire by all for continual improvement on construction sites,” Joanna explained. “By virtue of me being a MEI, I do feel a professional and trust it acts as a self-nudge in my work.”
Joanna now works for Evora, a niche company that delivers sustainability solutions for commercial real estate clients. However, Joanna still has a deep commitment to learning and growing within her field. “Do not think you know it all, read a wide range of literature and attend as many events as possible,” Joanna advises. “My next step is getting my chartered membership!”
Joanna also sets a great example away from work. She loves to spend time in green spaces – woodland, the park, her garden – and she hopes to have instilled this virtue in her children. She has even found a way to keep her children moving on an arduous walk, geocaching, essentially treasure hunting using GPS in the wild.
Information about EI membership can be found at www.energyinst.org/membership-and-careers/membership