Berl first met E2 Co-founder Bob Epstein while working in strategic marketing at Sybase, a database software company Bob co-founded. Years later, having moved to Boston and changed jobs, Berl found herself feeling that events were heading in the wrong direction: “It was early 2003 – the dotcom bubble had burst, the Senate had just been turned over to Republicans’ hands and the start of the U.S. war in Iraq was imminent.” She got a call from Bob, inviting her to a talk he gave in Boston about E2’s successful efforts to pass a clean cars bill in California. Berl had always been interested in local politics, and at the time was particularly concerned about global warming. When Bob asked her about starting a New England chapter of E2, she agreed to do what she could, but with a caveat. “I told Bob I didn’t know anything about the environment. On a good day, maybe I recycled. He assured me I’d learn it; that it was easier than selling software.”
Berl’s earliest efforts as Chapter Leader focused on recruitment events to build membership in New England. The chapter now has approximately 75 members and has gained four additional chapter co-leaders (see E2 Leadership webpage), all thanks to Berl’s guidance. Today, advocacy is just as important a component to the New England chapter’s activities as events. (Keep reading this issue for a summary of the advocacy accomplishments the chapter has enjoyed in just the past year.)
As a result of joining E2 and learning more about clean energy issues, Berl turned her professional skills to cleantech marketing consulting which she pursued for several years. Berl now focuses her time and energy on E2 and the New England Clean Energy Council, which she helped to found in 2007. She now serves on its board of directors and is the co-chair of the Council’s Policy Committee. She still very much enjoys both the event-planning and advocacy aspects of her E2 involvement. “E2 has become central to my perspective on issues. It showed me that when people are determined and organized they can actually make a difference. I’ve seen it this year here in Massachusetts where E2’s voice played a role in changing the environmental policy debate– and that has been very, very important.” With characteristic modesty, Berl is quick to share credit for the success of the New England chapter with her co-chapter leaders and the experts of other regional environment-oriented organizations with which she has formed close working relationships.
In addition to New England regional activities, Berl has been very active on E2’s national projects. She is a regular delegate to the annual delegation trips to Washington, DC, has participated in recent efforts to redesign E2’s website and update E2’s marketing plan, and serves on E2’s Advisory Council to help inform and guide growth and strategic direction.