Meet Elisabeth Soto, the Director of Digital at Climate Nexus. Elisabeth is a caring individual striving to make a positive contribution to the world. She is genuine and authentic. It was such a pleasure to speak candidly and learn from her experience and wisdom.
What inspires your work?
As the Director of the Digital Department, at a climate communications firm, Climate Nexus I get to live out my values through my work, which include loving my neighbor and caring for the earth. The impact that our support is having in lifting up the struggles of local communities, whether they're dealing with pollution or fighting pipelines, makes me feel as though I am spending my time well.
How did you get into digital marketing?
I started my digital marketing career in the venture capital space, working with startups in Latin America, and then I moved to asset management, which I loved because I like innovation. We're living in an increasingly digitized world, and every kind of business is learning how to grapple with that. So it was a great opportunity.
The hard part for me was convincing institutional investors like pension funds, and endowments and foundations to invest in the transportation of oil, which I recognize can be an attractive infrastructure investment opportunity.
My company was an investor in TransUnion Energy, which was one of the backers behind the Dakota Access Pipeline. My sister is Native American, and, having been involved in my local community of climate activists, it just didn't sit well with me. So, I was really looking for an opportunity to merge my passion with my skills. And that's what my job [at Climate Nexus] is allowing me to do.
It was a really difficult choice to make the decision to leave. But I think I ultimately made the right one.
What’s a valuable lesson you’ve learned recently?
It's okay to say no. And it's important to empower other people. I don't have to feel as though I need to say yes to everything and do everything because there are multiple opportunities. This year, I want to focus on doing less but doing it better, and putting my whole focus on those things.
Whereas in the past, I think, as a professional people pleaser, I always said yes to everything. And it actually led to burnout on my team and exhaustion and overworking. And so I'm pivoting this year to learn how to not only prioritize and focus, but also to empower other people, and to deputize and empower them to lead their own work streams as opposed to me feeling like I have to do everything.
What is your superpower?
My superpower knowing that I am not, in fact, a superhero. I am a human being and I am fallible. And sometimes I don't have the strength to do things. So I think for me, like my spirituality is very important and recognizing my own human limitations and where I have control and where I don't have control, and accepting those areas. And leaving the rest to God. The ability to know where I'm limited and where to have faith, and simply face my own human limitations.
In the field that I work in, climate change, sometimes everything feels so bleak. There are times when I want to be the savior, jump in and give everything I can with the noble hope of making a difference. Still, things don't turn out the way I would like them to and it can feel very crushing. So, recognizing that I'm just one person and I can control the things I can control but there are certain things I can't is necessary. Otherwise, it can be very discouraging.
“Sunset or sunrise?”
You moved here recently. What is your favorite spot?
I just discovered the Asilomar beach.
Sunsets in California, in general, are beautiful. The UV rays here are stronger, there’s more open landscape, and the light penetrates everything. To begin with, the sunsets in the West, are already awesome. Then, pile that onto Monterey and the beaches and it's even more awesome.
What do you do when you’re not coworking?
I've been trying to work out more. And prioritize my health. Also walking around. I love walking around here. Spending time with family now that I live on the West Coast, more than I have in a long time, and trying to get involved in the community. Hanging out with people. Trying to meet new people.
People are very friendly here, so friendly! I just wake up every day, and I'm like: I live here. I live here. I live here! You know, it just blows my mind.
What is your favorite part of living in Monterey?
It's not a busy city, but it's also not rural. And it's also not a suburb. Suburbs feel too in limbo for me. And yet, I'm tired of the energy of a full-blown city. Monterey feels like the perfect medium. There's still culture, there are still great places to eat and people walking by. And yet you have this connection to nature. Everything's very accessible and pedestrian-friendly for the most part, particularly being downtown. So in short, everything.
“Where do you see hope and possibility?”
I am seeing hope and possibility in human connection. During times of crisis is when people come together for a common cause. And, especially living in post-pandemic times where we've people have lost loved ones.
It’s been a very difficult two years, and that’s really put things in perspective. And so where I see possibilities is in human connection, and how tragedy moves us to have greater perspective on what actually matters in life.
What is your favorite thing about working from The Pearl Works?
During the height of COVID, I was in New York City, where, my neighbors and friends had COVID, and the elevators were full of people. It was just a very difficult time to be living in New York, and you don't have access to nature. So I think, having gone through that, and then having worked from home for more than two years, I felt isolated and cooped up. And now that we live in such a beautiful place, I want to just be fully immersed in it.
[Coworking at the Pearl Works] provides me the opportunity for social interaction because you all are very friendly, including the new members that we're getting to know.
I love the wall to wall windows and how open the space is – you see the movement outside and it feels like you're a part of the city, as opposed to isolated from it. The openness, the light, how close it is to everything, and the opportunity it provides to develop relationships. Not to mention is also a very beautiful space with a lot of plants.
It's a really good remedy for the stress of the day.
Anything else you want to share?
Coworking is tax-deductible. You can get a tax break. Everyone's in different stages, and it might seem like a big investment, but it's one that has a lot of returns and is totally worth it. As much as I like working from home, everything that it's provided makes it worth it. I know people face economic barriers or may have legitimate concerns during this time, But if you can do it, you won't regret it.
This interview is lightly edited for length and clarity.
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