MCJ Newsletter
My Climate Journey
Drafting Talent to Decarbonize the Global Economy

Drafting Talent to Decarbonize the Global Economy

with Jonathan Strauss, CEO and co-founder of Climate Draft

Today's guest is Jonathan Strauss, co-founder and CEO of Climate Draft, whose mission is to expose more people to the inspiring, impactful, and lucrative opportunities at venture-backed startups focused on decarbonizing the global economy.

Talent movement into climate tech is critical, especially talent that has learned to scale businesses and technologies fast. In many cases, the skillsets that these folks possess are so ingrained that they don't even recognize them as skills. Innate familiarity with things like how to build a hiring pipeline, how to properly incentivize a sales team, do performance reviews, how to establish a culture, bring in and integrate senior executives as it scales, and how to manage key accounts. These are all day-to-day activities that people in big tech companies take for granted but in many cases are altogether new skills for climate companies founded by folks with skills in synthetic biology, mechanical engineering, or other areas. And getting many of these key climate technologies to a scale fast is what needs to happen given the timeframes we are working with from a global carbon budget.

Listen on Spotify

Climate Draft is an organic effort, born out of the climate tech community and focused on increasing the awareness of climate in other corners of tech and industries beyond, particularly into talent pools with individuals who have deep experience scaling businesses and who may be concerned about climate change but haven't yet explored working in climate as a career path.

Jonathan and Cody have known each other for over 15 years, and have a great conversation about his journey from mainstream tech into progressive political work and then into climate, the community-based origins of Climate Draft, and what he's learned as he's helped thousands of people take their first step into exploring climate-related work. Great inspiration for anybody looking to figure out how to apply their skills most effectively in climate work.

In this episode, we cover: 

  • 3:21] Jonathan's background and climate journey

  • [14:55] The initial idea for Climate Draft

  • [21:29] Need for talent and company-building experience in the climate space

  • [26:18] First version of the "sports draft" model and learnings 

  • [32:06] Pros and cons of working with an all-volunteer team 

  • [36:38] An overview of Climate Draft today 

  • [41:35] Use case for people wanting an entry point with Climate Draft 

  • [44:24] Some of the takeaways from talent looking to transition to climate 

  • [46:06] Misconceptions about compensation in climate careers

  • [47:08] Applicable skills 

  • [48:40] Learnings from climate companies trying to recruit talent 

  • [51:01] Range of geographies, skill sets, and industries that involve climate 

  • [53:26] Revenue-based financing that worked for Climate Draft 

  • [59:03] Learnings from founders

Visit our website for a full transcript of this episode.

Get connected: 
Cody Simms
Climate Draft Twitter / LinkedIn 
MCJ Podcast / Collective

*You can also reach us via email at, where we encourage you to share your feedback on episodes and suggestions for future topics or guests.

Episode recorded on December 1, 2022.

MCJ Newsletter
My Climate Journey
A growing body of knowledge about climate change and potential solutions. This series traverses disciplines, industries, and opinions with hundreds of deep-dive conversations with science, technology, and climate leaders.