Maven Profiles are a section of the Maven Edit Blog highlighting amazing women, their careers, and the impact they’re making. From learning what motivates them to how they got where they are today and even where they’re headed next. In true Maven Way form, we’ll touch on sustainability and a bit of fashion too.
Kelly McElroy of sustainabiliME Podcast
This Maven Profile features Kelly McElroy. Kelly balances being a full time engineer in the nuclear industry with producing the podcast sustainabiliME which focuses on being a positive and encouraging voice in the world of sustainability. So let’s learn more about Kelly and what led her to start sustainabiliME.
Tell us about your background - who is Kelly?
I am an engineer at a nuclear power plant, but when I’m not working, I’m either hanging out with friends, hiking sand dunes with my husband and our dog, surfing Lake Michigan, or interviewing people for my podcast “sustainabiliME”.
Tell us about sustainabiliME and what led you to start it?
sustainabiliME is a podcast focused on sustainability that I started on Earth Day in 2019. Prior to launching the podcast, I had been sick of the doom and gloom in the news related to the environment and I wanted to know what actions I could take to make the world a better place. So I started sustainabiliME where each episode highlights a different company, group, or individual that is doing something related to sustainability to make the world a better place. Various topics have been covered such as sustainable fashion, sustainable investing, electric vehicles, composting, etc. Additionally, I aim to provide one tip in each episode that my listeners can try implementing in their own lives to better the environment.
What experiences within your career and background have helped make SustainabiliME successful?
Being an engineer, I’ve always enjoyed learning and problem solving. I think that helped me stay motivated to figure out how to produce a podcast and how to continuously improve the content and quality. I’ve also become more involved with local sustainability groups which have helped me network with various people in different industries who focus on sustainability.
What has been your favorite part of creating the podcast?
I absolutely love interviewing different people for each episode. Everyone is so passionate about what they are doing and their positivity causes a ripple effect of additional positivity. I end every interview feeling so energized and encouraged.
How has COVID impacted your podcast?
Before COVID, I would record most of my interviews in-person which was awesome for meeting so many amazing people. Now, I’ve learned how to record remotely while still maintaining fairly high sound quality. By learning how to record remotely, I have been able to record with people all over the world which has been very exciting. I’ve also noticed that there is a lag time compared to pre-COVID for people to listen to new episodes. I know this is mostly due to the fact that many people aren’t commuting to work as often and so it takes longer to catch up on podcasts (I fall into that as well). The good news is that my audience is still growing!
What got you interested in sustainability in general?
Throughout my life, I have always been passionate about the environment which is a big reason I went into Civil and Environmental Engineering at Michigan State University. However, once I moved out to a small town on the shores of Lake Michigan, I really became interested in sustainability. Over the 8 years I’ve lived there, I’ve witnessed record low water levels to record high water levels – both have had an impact on our community. Additionally, I’ve taken part in multiple beach clean-ups which opened my eyes to the amount of waste we all toss without batting an eye. These experiences really drove my interest in sustainability.
What got you interested in sustainable fashion?
My sister-in-law first opened my eyes to the world of sustainable fashion. She taught me all about the importance of buying secondhand and reusing and repurposing old clothes. I had no idea that the fast fashion world had such a negative impact on our environment. Additionally, I have recently learned a ton about ethical fashion from following Maven Way. I now try to purchase clothing that was responsibly sourced and ethically made.
What are you wearing nowadays?
When I’m working from home, sweats are my go-to. When I have to go into the office, I usually wear a work polo and jeans. Since COVID, my style has been super casual.
sustainabiliME can be found on most podcast apps including Apple, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and Stitcher or here: https://sustainabilime.libsyn.com/
Interested in Being Featured?We love meeting new women who are passionate about the impact they’re making. If you or someone you know would be interested in being featured in a future Maven Profile, please reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org