Getting to know Persefoni: Meet Sal Schiano
1. And you may ask yourself, "Well... how did I get here?" (Tell us your journey?)
I grew up in Watertown, a suburb of Boston, MA, and went to college in the old mill town of Lowell where I studied Political Science and Psychology at the University of Massachusetts. I learned that our economic system didn’t exactly put the health of its people, the planet, and living beings at the top of its list. Bill Nye, everyone’s favorite science guy, happened to be our commencement speaker. There was a line in his speech that validated the last four years of my life, “it’s politics, not technology, holding us back from environmental progress,” he said, “YOU have the power to change the world!”. The room, mostly full of STEM majors (engineers, scientists, etc.) and their families, erupted with applause and a deep sense of meaning surged within me.
Off I went to Washington, DC, for what I hoped would become a career at the State Department. Long story short, I realized that DC moved too slowly for me and most of its power was elsewhere. I figured the most effective way I could do good things in this life at scale would be as a corporate insider. Eventually, I found Forrester, an influential research and advisory firm for business and technology professionals based in Cambridge, MA. Forrester’s tagline back then was “challenge thinking, lead change”, and as cliche as it was, I took it to heart.
I landed on Forrester’s security and risk management team and started to infuse sustainability and social responsibility into our research and thought leadership. Not only because I was an idealist, but because in the “Age of the Customer” we understood the power of stakeholder capitalism. The TCFD was out and climate-related risks and opportunities were growing. Our clients needed this research, whether they knew it yet or not. By the time I left, we had formed two new research theme teams - Corporate Values and Sustainability - with analysts from all angles, published dozens of reports and led Forrester’s first-ever technology and vendor evaluations on the space (the Forrester Tech Tide and Wave™). That’s how I found and decided to join the world-class team at Persefoni.
2. And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile. (What do you do at Persefoni?)
My role is Director of Content and Intelligence. Most of what I do is not too dissimilar to my previous role - conduct research and create thought leadership content to inform the market, drive awareness of our brand, and answer questions that make our customers’ jobs easier.
Business and technology leaders are dealing with enormous challenges during this transition to a low-carbon economy and adaptation to climate change. Stakeholder demands for ethical and sustainable business practices and the data to prove them are at an all-time high. While our Climate Management and Accounting Platform solves many of those, our research aims to help customers and prospects navigate this evolving business climate. I enjoy working with subject matter experts, business partners, industry associations, analysts, and others to create content that’s relevant, helpful, and data-driven.
3. And you may ask yourself, "Where does that highway go to?" (What are your hopes for your time at Persefoni?)
I hope that I will contribute to Persefoni’s mission to democratize carbon accounting and enable every organization to turn insight into action. And that I can continue to work in an environment that enables me to do good, make a living, and learn and grow.
What struck me most about Persefoni during the research phase of the Forrester Wave wasn’t that its advisory board was a dream team of sustainability trailblazers, but that it was the only vendor to talk about democratization and the one that spoke most about action (i.e., climate action). Persefoni enables people and companies to measure what matters and do something about it. We’re heavily engaged with the wider global community to reduce global warming through action and accessibility. Our mission is authentic.
4. And you may say to yourself, "My God! What have I done?" (Why is Persefoni a great home for you?)
Persefoni is a great home for me because we’re both driven by the same thing: our values and belief that we can bring about positive change. I realize it’s a privilege, but I can’t imagine working for a company that doesn’t share my values.
It’s also great because I work with a diverse group of people who share the same passion for purpose, knowledge, and responsibility. I think that’s the secret sauce. Everyone here is here because they know all too well what we humans are doing to the life on our planet and that there’s a better way. Persefoni is our chance to build something great together and an opportunity to work for more than a paycheck. And it’s a team sport.
5. And you may find yourself in another part of the world... (Tell us about your life/hobbies away from work?)
I like to spend time with nature, close friends and family, and wherever there’s live music. I also love to travel, hang with and train my dog, read and watch things, and ponder the meaning of life.
My long-term partner and I moved to the paradise that is the San Francisco Bay Area in 2018 so she could attend graduate school in Berkeley. We loved living in the East Bay, discovering the redwoods of the coast, and walking our silly dog on the beach. We moved to California’s Central Valley a few months ago for her final year residency. It’s been a treat to be so close to Yosemite and the other awesome national parks in our backyard. It’s also nice to have the flexibility that remote work provides.
Meet other Persefonites!
“Once in a Lifetime" is a series of articles designed to help our customers and partners learn more about Persefoni's truly passionate team. We're not just building award-winning software ... together, we're helping to decarbonize our planet.