We sat down for a coffee with VP Molly Hendriksen, who leads BerlinRosen’s Climate Technology vertical. We talked all about her climate tech work at BerlinRosen, the future of the industry and the benefits that institutions stand to gain from working with a PR firm.
How do you like your coffee?
Sparingly. I’m actually a black tea drinker. English breakfast tea with milk and sugar.
Tell me about what you do at BerlinRosen.
I lead our Climate Tech practice, which partners with companies of all shapes and sizes that are working to decarbonize our economy. Our clients can range from early and growth stage startups and public companies, to investors and accelerators and beyond. Given climate touches everything, I have the opportunity to work across a wide range of industries, including energy, transportation, materials, the built environment and more.
The work that we do really spans the gamut. We’ve launched startups from stealth and lead strategy for every milestone after that, including product launches, fundraise announcements, M&A and market expansions. A core part of what we do is also building thought leadership for our clients. The space is so crowded—and competition continues to increase by the day—so carving out lanes of expertise and figuring out how to differentiate our clients’ voices from the rest is key.
It’s been a lot of fun helping to build this practice over the past five years or so. I’ve seen the steady increase in interest and attention being paid to climate over the years, with 2022 being a banner year for the sector. I’m excited to see what comes next.
Why did you join BerlinRosen?
I’ve alway been drawn to the progressive nature of the firm born from our political and advocacy roots. While I’m not working on political or social campaigns outright, these values still underpin the work that I do. And that’s what I wanted my career to be—working on something with meaningful impact that thinks about the wellbeing of people and the environment both today and over the long term.
When’s the right time for a climate tech company to find a PR partner?
Right now! Literally, no matter the stage or industry of your company, there is so much momentum behind climate (hello, IRA!) that it’s a good idea to have a conversation about how strategic communications can support your overall goals. Whether you want to build out your brand identity for the first time, create messaging that can speak to both industry and general audiences, build a thought leadership platform for your executives, establish channels to engage with policymakers or make sure your company successes get the attention they deserve—a strategic communications partner can help.
What top trends are you seeing in climate tech right now?
The sectors in climate that have gotten the lion’s share of attention over the years have been transportation and energy, which of course makes sense as that’s where a majority of emissions come from. But underlying these and other global industries are the materials that are necessary to actually build the infrastructure that we already, or increasingly, rely on. For instance, the cement used to construct our office buildings and roads, the steel used to build railways and wind turbines or the lithium needed for electric vehicles or battery storage. Sustainable materials and decarbonizing hard-to-abate sectors are extremely exciting spaces, and I think there’s going to be an increasing amount of attention paid to these types of companies because they’re so critical to the climate transition.
What’s one of the top pieces of advice you’d give to climate tech companies?
I would say language matters. Climate is such an important issue, but a lot of times progress gets caught up due to semantics. So my biggest piece of advice would be to use your language well: describe what you do in clear, succinct, simple terms and choose your words wisely.
What has been some of your proudest work at BerlinRosen?
Having the opportunity to build up the climate tech practice. To see how interest in climate technology has changed over the years and the various clients we have the opportunity to work with, whether it’s EV charging, global renewable energy companies, growth stage startups or investors who are putting capital behind new solutions, it’s been really exciting to be able to see the growth of our climate tech practice and work with such a diverse set of companies.
Tell me a life-changing moment that helped shape who you are today.
Before I was in PR, I was in the legal field as a paralegal. I’ll say, going from a paralegal to PR, there’s not necessarily a lot of overlap in what you’re doing. So, going through the career change process—the interviews, trials and errors, rejections—it was a difficult transition, but it was also a learning experience and really solidified my interest in pursuing communications for a career. And so now I’m very happy and grateful to be doing this work.
Last TV show you binge-watched: “Alone.”
Best part about living on the West Coast: The sunshine. And, my family is also here.
Restaurant you’d recommend to close friends: Dunsmoor in Glassell Park in LA.
A concert that you’d love to experience: One where I could relive the best music of the 90s.
Best album ever: Anything by Khruangbin.
Your dream dinner guests: David Attenborough. The man’s got a great voice and, I’m sure, some great stories to tell.
A book that changed you : “The Bean Trees” by Barbara Kingsolver. She’s one of my favorite writers. The book is very nature forward, which I love.
Movie you’d pay to see again and again: “Clueless.” It’s a classic!
Advice you’d tell your younger self: Everything works out for the most part, so just enjoy the ride.