In this series, discover how our network of freelance talent crafted careers that enable them to address the most pressing societal issues, while maintaining a firm grasp on what means the most to them outside of work. Founder and independent consultant Michél Legendre shares his journey below.
When did you start freelancing for sustainability?
I started freelance consulting in 2022. Later that year I began sharing insights on sustainability within different sectors including impact investing, sustainable businesses, and businesses adjacent to the sustainability community.
Where do you work right now?
I’m based in Brooklyn, NY.
What issues are you most fired up about tackling?
Ending the minimal, band-aid "solutions" being proposed across sectors and digging deep toward transformative and significant sustainability changes that aren't siloed or relegated to the corners of institutions and businesses.
How are you using your strengths and skills to change the world?
At my core, I'm a campaigner for justice - compromising to the lowest common denominator isn't something I'm OK with. It's a strength in this space, because too often sustainability, DEJI, impact investments, ESG, etc. are all add-ons and sometimes worse, expendable departments within structures. In order to truly transform, these need to become pillars of the work businesses, organizations, and institutions do, so that they also aren't sacrificed when things get tough.
What brings you the most joy when it comes to having a flexible career?
For me, life is the most important thing. I don't live to work, I don't work to live. I want to just live as much as I can. Having a flexible career allows me to prioritize the people, experiences, and life that is most important to me. It also makes it so I can show up most fully as myself with the heart and passion that defines how I want to be in relation to the world around me.
What's the biggest challenge when it comes to freelancing in sustainability?
I think too many want sustainability as an idea but are not committed to it in practice, and too often don't want to do what is necessary. Also, the people tasked with sustainability often have the least authority for change which makes it a waste of time, energy, and resources because none of the changes we develop can truly move forward.
Is there a project that you’re most proud of?
We haven't solved climate change, so no, not yet. I'll report-back when we've made the big changes I think are really necessary. But I am proud of some of the work I've done to advise on the distribution of resources to those doing great work in workforce development, climate tech, sustainability, etc. via the advisory committee for Civ:Labs.
What’s your advice to someone who’s thinking of taking the plunge into freelance or freelancers just starting out?
I would say the most important thing is community. Who are your community of people who are your peers, who are the community of people you can count on for paid opportunities, who are the people who can offer advice? Those people have been critical to always making me feel like I have a path forward in this work that sometimes can feel like you're on shaky ground. I am also always pleasantly surprised by how excited and supportive people are of the not-yet-formed projects I want to launch, or the work I want to do in the future - so share your dreams, aspirations, and half-baked ideas to those who you think are excited to listen. They can quickly become accomplices to making it real!