Atlanta: Episode #
7
Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Tylesha Giddings: Finding Your Passion for Positive Change

In this Episode
Tylesha Giddings
she/her
Technical Project Manager
Matt Scott
he/him
Manager, Storytelling & Engagement
“Often, I am the only one that resembles myself in the room, and it can be a shock sometimes to know that reality, but being confident in your abilities and your knowledge and your passion is the biggest thing I had to lean into and overcome.”
In this Episode
Tylesha Giddings
she/her
Technical Project Manager
Matt Scott
he/him
Manager, Storytelling & Engagement

Tylesha’s Story

Southface is a non-profit working and partnering directly with communities to promote a healthy, equitable, and regenerative economy through better-built environments and more resilient communities across Atlanta. Tylesha Giddings is a Technical Project Manager for Southface. She is working to provide technical assistance to local nonprofits to implement energy and water conservation efforts, which translate into financial savings that can be poured back into their mission to impact the communities they serve. Tylesha has a passion for creative expression, and her love for dance and the arts has fused into her role as an engineer, keeping her grounded when she thinks about the daunting nature of climate change and helping her relate to the communities she works with.

Discussion Questions

One of the most important things you can do when it comes to climate change is talk about it.

  • When we think about climate change—and what we and others can do to make a difference—most don't think of the arts or creative expression. But art serves as a critical translator in this time, and it can also be a powerful personal outlet and source of creativity for how we navigate and build solutions to address the climate crisis. For Tylesha, dance is an important outlet and way to express herself creatively, which keeps her grounded and able to continue her work on climate solutions. What is a creative outlet that brings you joy and groundedness, and how can you bring creativity into how we imagine climate solutions?

  • High school greatly impacted Tylesha's development as a person and helped shape her future career path. High school is not only a place where she was very involved with sports and student affairs, but it is also where Tylesha learned about sustainability. Her school was the first LEED Silver (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified high school in the state of Georgia; they had recycling bins, outside classrooms, and regular opportunities through their school’s curriculum to take environmental action on campus and in the community. What’s more, Tylesha’s teachers instilled key core values in their students and made learning fun. These experiences contributed to who Tylesha is and influences her approach in working with communities. Has your school community helped you in some way to envision the types of positive change you can have in the world? How has your school building or campus influenced the way you learn? Are there opportunities to implement solutions that would make your school a greener campus?

  • Tylesha holds multiple identities where she feels she is not the "typical engineer" because she loves fashion, the arts, dance, and sports. In addition, she is a minority in the engineering field, an immigrant, and a Black woman in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). "Often, I am the only one that resembles myself in the room, and it can be a shock sometimes to know that reality, but being confident in your abilities and your knowledge and your passion is the biggest thing I had to lean into and overcome." What keeps Tylesha balanced is remembering that what makes her different and unique can also be a superpower. "Which means that I can connect when I go to certain projects with certain people on a different level,” she says. “We serve many underprivileged communities, and seeing me in that space or coming into their home, they are a little more open and willing to share about their lives." What are some unique identities that make you the person you are? Are you able to take Tylesha's advice to be confident in who you are and in the knowledge, abilities, and passions you have, even if different from others' expectations? How can your uniqueness help you stand apart and find your superpower to impact our world positively? 

  • In high school, Tylesha had a teacher who was a woman of color in the STEM field, and it was this teacher who influenced Tylesha to attend the University of Georgia. Why is it important to see real-life examples of diverse representation in climate leadership? Who is a favorite teacher you have shared a classroom with, and how has their influence been felt in your life?

  • Tylesha navigates climate grief by identifying moments to be optimistic and finds hope in seeing the tangible impact that her work at Southface is having in her community. Tylesha describes working with the local Boys and Girls Club and seeing the difference that LED lights make and appreciating how that energy efficiency translates to dollars saved. In turn, they can serve ten more kids for free or give out bikes to children. Seeing the positive impact in real people's lives keeps Tylesha inspired in her work and optimistic for the future. What is a tangible example of a climate solution already underway in your community? What is that solution's positive impact, and does it make you feel hopeful?

Learn More

Learn about the solutions in this story.

Explore Climate Solutions 101, the world's first major educational effort focused solely on climate solutions. This video series combines Project Drawdown’s trusted resources with the expertise of inspiring, scientifically knowledgeable voices from around the world: drawdown.org/climate-solutions-101.

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