Kali Taylor, a graduate from the Calgary Haskayne School of Business has been involved in the energy industry since she was 19 years old. Working in this complex industry is what inspired her and her peers to start the not-for-profit group Student Energy, an organization focused on developing the next generation of leaders who are dedicated to finding the answers to sustainable energy in the future.
Elevator Pitch: Describe your business in a nutshell.
Student Energy is a global not-for-profit that is creating the next generation of energy leaders committed to transitioning the world to a sustainable future. Student Energy is focused on providing initiatives that educate, empower, inspire, and unite post-secondary students and on helping them to define the impact that they can have as individuals in energy and the environmental space. Our most notable initiative is the International Student Energy Summit, which is a forum that occurs every two years in different cities around the globe and brings over 500 leading student leaders together to learn about sustainable resource management and the youth’s role in the future of energy.
Why did you start your business, what was the inspiration?
I began working in the energy industry at the young age of 19 and I found it very overwhelming. The industry is extremely multidimensional and complex. I found myself unsure of where to get credible information and constantly struggling to get the answers that would allow me to understand energy from a holistic, global perspective. I talked to other students they felt the same way so we started Student Energy as a grassroots way to tackle this challenge. We are very aware that it will be our generation who will be responsible for global change when it comes to energy and the environment, and therefore feel it is our responsibility to build capacity so we are prepared for the challenge.
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The best part is getting to work with amazing people and students all over the globe. They inspire me on a day-to-day basis and keep my passion for the project alive. The most challenging part is certainly being a start-up charity. We are still establishing ourselves, building systems and processes, securing funding, learning the rules of the game; the list could go on and on. I don’t think any amount of education or experience can prepare you for start-up life!
What is one sign that you’ve seen over the years to suggest that your work/life balance is off?
It may sound obvious, but I get sick. Particularly after long travel journeys and plenty of recycled airplane air I always come down with a cold when I haven’t been taking care of myself.
Where do you see your business going in five years?
Student Energy is growing quickly so I truly believe in five years it will be a massive global movement. It is driven by the community, so I am never sure exactly what form it will take, but I do believe it will be a go-to resource for students across the planet.
What does success look like to you?
To me, success is being part of something bigger than myself. I think we are on the cusp of massive global change and I will feel I am successful if I am able to empower as many people as possible to realize they are capable of being part of that change.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
My most memorable career milestone is the day I pulled the safety net out – the day that I started full-time at Student Energy. We didn’t have money in the bank but we had a mission, vision and I knew the organization needed my full focus and attention. There were no back up plans; I was all in. It was terrifying and exhilarating all at the same time.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Don’t expect to fall into exactly what you love by chance – it is a journey. The only way to find out what you will love is to be open to trying different things. Every role you hold will teach you something about yourself and allow you to refine your career until it is what you want it to be.
Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in Calgary and why?
FARM because it is local, organic and on 17th Avenue. Plus it is small, quaint and the servers always can recommend the best wine pairings!
When you’re not working how do you love to spend your “Me” time?
I will inevitably be one of three places – out for beers with friends, in the mountains hiking, or at the theatre – I am a musicals junkie.
Where is your favourite place to travel? Why?
It is a toss-up between India for the culture and adventure or Greece for the relaxation and food.
If you had to choose a theme song, what would it be?
Don’t Stop Believing – I am from a town of 3,000 people, so “just a small town girl, living in a lonely world” really speaks to me.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
Student Energy is a charity so my efforts are pretty much exclusively focused on it!
What is Notable to you?
The first word that comes to mind when I think of Notable is lifestyle; a truly unique collection of pieces that are relevant to my life as a young woman, Canadian and entrepreneur.
BlackBerry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
iPhone. I am a religious Mac user so I converted to the iPhone so that everything would sync seamlessly. It was a good decision for my busy life!
#LYNL | (Live Your Notable Life)