Volunteer Spotlight: Norma Safransky
By Elise Koepke
Members of Congress tell us all the time that business support is crucial for climate action. So our volunteers, like Norma Safransky, are hard at work building that support out in the field.
Norma is a part of CCL’s Business Climate Leaders (BCL) action team, which works to generate business support for climate action. More than 800 businesses from a variety of sectors have actually endorsed the Energy Innovation Act, CCL’s preferred climate legislation. Norma has worked to get some of those endorsements herself from both local businesses and national corporations.
When she’s not organizing for climate action, Norma works as a psychologist in Chapel Hill, NC, and spends time gardening flowers and vegetables. We caught up with Norma to find out how her outreach is going and how she stays motivated to do this work.
How did you first get connected with CCL?
I joined the Raleigh-Durham chapter in the spring of 2017. I was distraught about the election of President Trump and his plan to withdraw us from the Paris Accords. My neighbor, who has worked for years at NC WARN, recommended I volunteer with CCL.
What did you like about CCL?
I liked that it was bipartisan and was taking practical steps. I liked how well organized it is. I trusted my neighbor’s opinion about the best organization in which to invest my time and energy.
Tell us about your efforts to generate local business endorsements.
My first attempt to get an endorsement was with a local Toyota dealer. I called the dealership where I bought my Prius. Persistent and friendly phone calls finally connected me with the right person. She was immediately receptive and consulted with her general manager, and they decided to endorse the bill. Having an early success gave me courage to continue. I decided to “follow the money” toward the goal of influencing our member of Congress.
Sounds like a smart plan. How did you get started, and how is it going?
I researched on Open Secrets who donated to his campaign. [Editor’s note: Norma was following the tips in this training, which include researching your member of Congress to identify which local leaders might be most influential to them.] I spent some time researching the businesses’ sustainability policies and identified someone in that department to connect with. That has led to meetings with several national companies, including AbbVie, AT&T and Cox Conserves. We haven’t gotten any endorsements yet, but we are building a relationship and remain hopeful. I have a sense that they are waiting for a change in the Senate and White House before risking an endorsement.
What keeps you motivated to stay involved?
Every time I get a positive response from a business, I feel energized. And, of course, I’m also motivated by my deep concern for our planet. I daily see the effects of climate change in my vegetable and flower gardens.
Got a suggestion for our Volunteer Spotlight series? Send the name, chapter, and some brief info about the volunteer to Flannery Winchester at email@example.com.
Elise Koepke is a communications intern with Citizens’ Climate Lobby. She is a recent graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she studied Earth Science.