What We’re Up To

A Coffee with Pakelody Cheam, Account Supervisor

April 27th, 2023

As part of Earth Month, we’re sharing a series of weekly blog posts with strategies, insights and conversations with our Environment & Climate PR team.

We grabbed coffee with our Account Supervisor Pakelody Cheam to talk about strategies to elevate Climate Tech companies during Earth Month, why she joined BerlinRosen, and even an amazing story of how she match-made two strangers on the subway.

How do you like your coffee?

Unrecognizable. Need condensed milk, vanilla syrup or other cavity-inducing ingredients to mask the coffee taste.   

Tell me about what you do at BerlinRosen. 

I work with several CEOs, founders, and engineering teams tackling sustainable solutions to some of the most pressing issues facing our planet—from URBAN-X, MINI’s platform for supporting climate tech startups, to Electra, a clean iron company decarbonizing steelmaking (AKA one of the largest industrial sources of atmospheric pollution), to Octopus Energy, a $5B global renewable energy group backed by Al Gore that uses technology to transform how consumers interact with their energy providers and take control of their energy use and more.

Why did you join BerlinRosen?

Before BerlinRosen, I actually wasn’t working in the sustainability space at all, but the environment has always been something that’s really important to me. I studied sustainability in college and I thought that it would be more of something I would do outside of my workplace, so for volunteering, or you know, everything else we do when we’re not here for our nine to five.

When I saw an opportunity to actually work with climate tech companies through BerlinRosen, it became clear it was possible to make sustainability a larger part of my life! It was also clear that BerlinRosen was a super impact-driven organization, and I wanted to be a part of that. 

What are good strategies to help a climate tech company during Earth Month?

That’s a good question. Two things come to mind (and these go beyond just Earth Month, by the way):

  1. Engage with a community that’s going to be impacted by your technology. This could be hosting a barbecue for them, amplifying a local leader’s impact on your social media, sponsoring an event or project, or something else entirely. 
  2. Show off that data: be able to show how your product or service impacts the planet, whether that’s having a graph that conveys how much money or energy your product helped save or how much time your micromobility solution saved commuters.

Can you share an example of a campaign that you’re proud to have worked on?

I mentioned URBAN-X earlier—MINI’s platform that supports climate tech entrepreneurs reimagining city life. They work with a group of passionate entrepreneurs and inventors every few months to help them develop design and strategy as they grow their startups. Part of our work is to highlight the great progress their portfolio companies are doing, so we were lucky enough to work with one of their portfolio companies, Dollaride.

In November, Dollaride won a grant from New York State to provide affordable electric shuttle buses in transit deserts across NYC. We worked hand in hand with Su Sanni and Taji Morris (of Dollaride) to announce that award and were able to secure stories (including this great Bloomberg piece from Patrick Sisson) highlighting Dollaride’s commitment to ending transit deserts and creating a clean transportation ecosystem.

How does storytelling play an important role in building support for climate tech communications?

It can be tricky to explain very complex technological solutions, especially to people who aren’t steeped in the same industry. Good storytellers are able to listen to the founders, scientists, inventors and engineers that are working on a project and identify how to message the work and pitch stories in a way that is true to the company and most impactful to their target audiences—whether that be focusing on the size of the market for a new investor, highlighting how this solution could lower your carbon footprint for eco-friendly customers, leaning into technical aspects for potential talent and on. 

Tell me a life-changing moment that helped shape who you are today. 

This is silly and maybe not what you were looking for, but I went to Thailand a few years ago and tried, for the first time, a really, really tiny pineapple. I had never tasted a fruit as gorgeous as that pineapple. From there, I developed a deep appreciation and fascination of fruit variation and all the factors that go into that. I’ve even taken a couple of courses on Coursera about plant life. 

Fast Facts

Last TV show you binge-watched: Pride and Prejudice, the BBC mini-series from 1995. 

Favorite sustainable brands or companies: The obvious ones are Reformation and Patagonia, so I’ll say TerraCycle, which is a company that will help you recycle literally anything. 

Restaurant you’d recommend to close friends: Eyval, a Persian restaurant in Bushwick.

A concert that you’d love to experience: I would love to go to an LCD Soundsystem show, which is a weird answer because they are always playing in Brooklyn (which is where I live). 

Best album ever: “Mother Earth’s Plantasia” by Mort Garson.

Your dream dinner guests: I know people usually pick celebrities, but I would want to have dinner with two strangers that I match-made on the subway, pre-pandemic. I’d like to know if they ended up together. 

A book that changed you: “The Startup Wife” by Tahmima Anam. It’s a super sharp novel about this entrepreneur and a social media app she co-develops with her husband. Chaos ensues. 

A movie you’d pay to see again and again: “13 Going On 30.” I just love Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo. 

Advice you’d tell your younger self: Don’t be afraid to jump into a giant body of water when the opportunity arises!