1634 – Saving The Planet with Written Progress’ Megan Mayzelle

In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks with the Executive Director of Written Progress, Megan Mayzelle.

Megan Mayzelle's journey into the climate sector was born from her background in climate and community development and strong writing skills. She started as a freelancer, providing written documentation to organizations in the climate sector to secure funding, attract talent, and influence policy. As the demand for her services grew, she established Written Progress. Today, her team of experts, armed with scientific understanding and communication skills, serves clients by writing grant proposals, policy briefs, academic manuscripts, and more.

Megan shed light on the ecosystem of companies focused on climate action. She explained that the climate sector, like any other industry, encompasses various skill sets and job roles, including salespeople, product managers, coders, managers, and writers. The common thread among these professionals is their mission alignment to address climate issues. Megan noted a growing trend of businesses, like Written Progress, working with clients focused on climate missions.

Megan's organization has worked with diverse clients, from global entities like the World Bank and United Nations to small startups like Green River. Written Progress offers various services, including writing policy briefs, grant proposals, articles, and research reports.


Key Points from the Episode:

  • Explanation of Written Progress' support for climate organizations through written documentation
  • Megan's background in climate and community development and her establishment of Written Progress
  • Discussion on the ecosystem of companies focused on climate action
  • Mention of clients such as the World Bank, United Nations, and Green River
  • Range of services offered by Written Progress
  • Importance of individuals and organizations taking action to address social and environmental issues
  • Need for collective effort and a shift in mindset to solve complex problems


About Megan Mayzelle:

Megan Mayzelle is a trailblazing individual from West Virginia, USA, and a first-generation college graduate. She has turned her lifelong aspiration of living abroad into a reality by establishing Written Progress. This pioneering organization comprises a team of technical communicators who work remotely and cater to social and environmental justice professionals.

Written Progress specializes in handling daunting documents such as grant applications, policy briefs, and academic manuscripts on behalf of their clients. Their expertise lies in crafting captivating written content that excites funders, policymakers, and top talent, thus propelling their clients' ethical impacts to new heights.

Moreover, besides their document services, Written Progress facilitates “writeshops” to empower individuals to build their skill sets. Notably, the organization is developing a software tool that will aid climate professionals in identifying and responding to the often intricate co-benefits and co-risks associated with their work.

Megan Mayzelle's journey exemplifies ambition, innovation, and a commitment to positively impacting the world of social and environmental justice through Written Progress.


About Written Progress:

Written Progress is a groundbreaking organization that addresses the needs of carbon management organizations, corporations, social enterprises, and non-profits working towards solving the climate crisis. With over 700 carbon management organizations alone, there is a pressing demand for adequate documentation to secure funding, attract talent, establish theses, and influence policy.

The individuals leading energy and climate projects face numerous responsibilities and often need more uninterrupted time for deep work. Furthermore, their expertise in complex knowledge makes it challenging to convey their messages to a broader audience.

Written Progress provides a solution by combining the technical proficiency of a sustainability consultant with the journalistic skills necessary to translate key messages effectively. By taking on the burden of writing, the organization allows clients to focus on their core responsibilities while ensuring their proposals, policy briefs, communication strategies, white papers, academic manuscripts, and research reports are transformed into exceptional pieces.

The outcome is a network of funders, policymakers, and stakeholders ready to amplify the climate impacts of Written Progress' clients. The organization has a proven track record of securing millions of dollars in funding through well-crafted proposals and assisting clients in optimizing their communication strategies for maximum impact.

Clients often begin their journey with Written Progress by enhancing existing materials.

Still, they also trust the organization to research and produce original policy briefs, investment cases, academic articles, and white papers. Written Progress enables clients to achieve their goals within their means by identifying the 80/20 wins that will amplify their impact.


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Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Want to learn more? Check out Written Progress website at

Check out Written Progress on LinkedIn at

Check out Megan Mayzelle on LinkedIn at

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Josh (00:00:05) - Hey there, thoughtful listener. Would you like consistent and predictable sales activity with no spam and no ads? I'll teach you step by step how to do this, particularly if you're an agency owner, consultant, coach or B2B service provider. What I teach has worked for me for more than 15 years and has helped me create more than $10 million in revenue. Just head to up my influence and watch my free class on how to create endless high ticket sales appointments. You can even chat with me live and I'll see and reply to your messages. Also, don't forget the thoughtful entrepreneur is always looking for guests. Go to up my influence com and click on podcast. We'd love to have you. With us right now, Megan Mayzelle. Megan, you are the founder and executive director of Written Progress. You're found on the web at Written Progress. Megan, thank you so much for joining us.

Megan (00:01:11) - Thanks, Josh, It's great to be here with you.

Josh (00:01:13) - And share with us the work that you do at Written Progress.

Megan (00:01:18) - Yeah, So there are probably more than 700 organizations in the world trying to solve the climate crisis, and they rely on documented proof of work to get funding, to attract talent, to shift policy, to speak to their stakeholders. They need grant applications, policy briefs, white papers to do all those things. But as you can imagine, they're overstretched. They're pulled in a bunch of different directions and they have a really hard time backing up and looking at their work from the perspective of somebody who isn't as familiar with it as they are. So that's what we do. We take all of those documents off their desk, we write their grant proposals, we write their applications, we write their policy briefs, we write their academic manuscripts, their articles, their white papers, so that they have that documented proof of this is what we're doing, this is our position on the problem. This is how we're moving it forward. This is why you should trust us. This is why you should support us. And we are so thrilled to see our clients making progress on this big, complicated issue that affects all of us.

Josh (00:02:26) - Yeah. Yeah. And how did you find yourself in this work? What were you doing before?

Megan (00:02:31) - Well, I studied climate and community development, and I started freelancing several years ago with the hope of being able to be location independent and realized I had more writing skill than most scientists and that I understood what they were trying to say and could help them say it better. So I positioned myself as a freelance writer in that space and had so much demand that I was flooded and just didn't know what to do with all of it. Established a business just so I could hire 1 or 2 people to help me with my workload. And that has organically evolved over the years. You know, when a client says, can do you have someone that can help me do this in French, or do you have someone who knows something about biodiversity and conservation? I would say no, but I will find them. And so my mission has been going out into the world and finding people who have a high level of scientific understanding in the space and also are great communicators and bring them on to the team.

Megan (00:03:36) - And we create a great culture within our organization and we're so excited about serving this clientele as well.

Josh (00:03:43) - Yeah. So I mean, you are helping save the planet.

Megan (00:03:48) - Megan That's that's our mission. That's exactly what we're trying to do.

Josh (00:03:54) - You know, and this is kind of interesting because, you know, when we think about, you know, groups or companies or folks that are there doing work out there, you know, there's a lot of ancillary or, you know, for folks that, you know, let's say you provide, you know, Web development services or SEO, you can participate. I mean, can you talk maybe just generally about help, help someone from the outside understand, I don't call it an industry, but it's, you know, this you know, that this sector anyway, of companies that are quite focused on that who falls into that bucket and all of these companies that are doing this work and, you know, affecting policy and making changes and, you know, encouraging clean up and better standards, you know, you need a lot of support around that.

Josh (00:04:45) - Can you kind of give us a peek into this entire ecosystem?

Megan (00:04:49) - Yeah, you know, the the climate sector, as it's called, is in a lot of ways, like every other sector, in that it needs all the same sorts of skill sets and types of jobs. There are salespeople, there are product of people, there are coders, there are managers, there are supply chain logisticians, there are writers in the climate space. And many of them don't have expertise in climate because they have colleagues that are climate scientists or engineers, much like in a let's say, you could work for the educational system. As a software manager, you don't have to know anything about teaching. You need to know about software. So in the same sense, climate encompasses a wide, wide, wide variety of skill sets. The only thing that they really share is that mission alignment. And so you point out something that I've been seeing in the field. There are more and more businesses like mine that filter who they want to work with and who.

Megan (00:05:56) - They want to serve based on their mission. And in fact, I could be writing grant proposals or policy briefs for anyone and any cause. You know, I'm a writer and I've chosen to do this for a specific subset of clients who are focused on a climate mission.

Josh (00:06:16) - Yeah. And and so what would be some examples of, of organizations that you've worked with and how did you step in and what did that look like when you were working with them?

Megan (00:06:27) - Yeah, great question. We have a suite of maybe about ten service areas where we get a lot of demand. I've mentioned a few already writing policy briefs, white papers, grant proposals, articles and blogs, research reports. Another thing we do a lot of is developing a communication strategy for an organization. We also do quite a bit of project management. We help scientists publish their novel findings in academic journals, and then the last thing we do is the only in-person thing that we do, and that is write shops, and that is for teams who want to uplevel their own writing skills and and be able to more quickly produce their own written proof of work, their own drafts, that they can move forward without a lot of the anxiety that that typically comes for with writing for a lot of people.

Megan (00:07:23) - Now, who do we serve with those services? Some of our. Most committed clients all say, you know, the ones that come back again and again. The World Bank, United Nations, the International Research Center, we work with the Carbon Business Council. We also work with small startups that maybe you've never heard of, like Green River, who does software for public good. And we are allies, for example, of 1.5, which is a team of consultants working in climate.

Josh (00:08:03) - Yeah. So I would imagine. Well, and the question may have may you may have heard this over the past number of months is can I use tools like AI and ChatGPT to help write policy briefs? Um.

Megan (00:08:21) - Yeah. You know, this has been think for a lot of writers, GPT and other AI language models have felt threatening. You know, it's it's going to take our job. For us it has felt like an opportunity because. So stay with me here for a second. I'm going to. No, I'm with you.

Josh (00:08:39) - I'm not in my head. Yeah, it sounds to me like it feels like like, okay, now we have calculators. And so folks that we're getting paid to scratch out, you know, calculations previously now can turn in their work a lot faster. That's my observation. Sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt. Rude of me. Go, please.

Megan (00:08:57) - That is a fantastic metaphor. So GPT is trained on everything. That was on the Internet through September of 2021, 2021. A lot of what we're writing, or maybe all of it has been discovered or created since then, meaning it didn't exist. It doesn't exist for GPT and. And maybe it hasn't even been published on the Internet anywhere yet. You know, we're writing something for the first time to share it with the world. For example, a scientist's new findings on climate change. And so until the day that the the model can go out and observe the world and write about that, it's not taking our jobs. It's helping us do our jobs better.

Megan (00:09:45) - You know, we can employ GPS for a lot of the easier work and then focus our time and our energy on wordsmithing, on crafting, on up leveling. So the client is getting even more bang for the same buck.

Josh (00:10:01) - Yeah, well, that's exciting. So who listening to us, Megan, should be reaching out and connecting with you.

Megan (00:10:08) - So anybody working in the climate space, and particularly anyone who's leading a team working on climate action would love to chat with you just in general here about your work that is really important for me to continue to understand the needs in this rapidly evolving space. And if you have a needs for creating documented proof of work, I would love to work with you. We also do quite a bit of communication in terms of articles that can help our clients uplevel their own work without necessarily hiring us. So it might be worth checking out our website or our LinkedIn.

Josh (00:10:44) - Yeah. And then I'm curious, your observation or your standpoint, you know, over the next ten years, what are you most excited about when it comes to climate action?

Megan (00:10:55) - Gosh, that's such a great question.

Megan (00:10:57) - Know, I've been in this space for close to 15 years and for most of it I was a pessimist. You know, I felt like I needed to work on this problem, but I also didn't think we were going to make it. It felt like we it was probably inevitable that we were going to be dealing with really extreme effects of climate change. In the past 3 to 4 years, my position has shifted completely, and that is due to one thing. There has been a huge number of incredible brains pouring into the space. A lot of people are leaving organizations, for example, you know, Silicon Valley Stripes and Microsofts and Hewlett-Packard to work in climate. And people are leaving organizations like McKinsey to work in climate. You know, they're we're getting these extremely successful, extremely developed professionals moving into the climate space and saying, I'm going to solve this problem. And that is the number one factor for success. That makes me think that we are going to solve it. And I'm pretty excited to see where they go with it.

Josh (00:12:05) - Yeah, I mean, you know, as much as we hope the government is going to take the lead on everything, I think the thing again, it's like I'm heartened by those like the people, right. And the people that are, you know what? We've come up with some pretty cool stuff over here. I think we could use what we've come up with for good. And so, you know, it's like you've got, you know, just populations and you've got corporate corporations and and just groups of people there. Like we can if we put our heads together, I think we can solve this. You know, it's like, never forget, I got to attend a taping of the Oprah show and Bono, it was was on the episode. It was awesome. But he said, you know, and he was talking about poverty. He was talking about, you know, his organization won and so forth. And he said, you know, I think that that we'll get to a point where we'll look at lack and poverty in our communities.

Josh (00:13:01) - And I think we'll get to a point sometime where we'll look back and say, how did we let that go on so long? These are not really complicated problems to solve. All it requires is everybody just doing a little bit and and that right there will likely solve 80% of the problem. You know, just this combined effort of everyone, you know, not changing their lives upside down, but being mindful and encouraging change, you know, that sort of thing. So. Well, Megan, this is great. You know, it's not often that someone gets to take the things that they're so passionate about that they believe in that the, you know, the social good that they want to see in the world and they are able to turn it into a very profitable company which again, your website written progress on your website. What would you recommend people click on? How do they engage with you? What's the next step?

Megan (00:13:54) - Well, anyone who wants to chat can head over to the contact page and book a call with me.

Megan (00:13:59) - I love talking to anyone, especially people who are just moving into the climate space and trying to get their bearings. It's rapidly evolving and I know that it was overwhelming for me or it remains overwhelming because it moves so quickly and so love giving people some shortcuts or some insight, you know, to to help them get started quickly. Like I said, we need minds here. We need big brains. So the more that can come and connect with us, the better. And if you just want to learn about us, think the How It Works page and our sustainability statement are pretty inspiring.

Josh (00:14:38) - Yeah. All right. Again, your website, written Progress. Megan Mayzelle, you're the executive director and founder. Megan, it's been great having you.

Megan (00:14:48) - Thank you so much. Josh, It's been great being here with you.

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