Charging Up: Women’s climatetech career moves at Meta, Utilidata, Energize Ventures, Nuveen and in sustainable commercial real estate

Plus, quantifying the business case for building a gender-balanced board.

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Canary Media’s Charging Up column chronicles women’s career advancements in the climatetech sector. Please send feedback and tips to [email protected]​canarymedia.​com. Canary thanks CleanCapital for its support of the column.

Career moves

Lauren Densham joined Energize Ventures as head of impact and ESG. Before taking a role at Energize, Lauren served 13 years at KPMG, where she led ESG strategy for clients. Energize Ventures is a venture fund investing in software-based technologies for energy and industrial companies. 

Jessica Bailey is now president and CEO of Nuveen Green Capital, a provider of sustainable financing for commercial real estate owners looking to improve energy, water and resiliency performance. 

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Jeannine Altavilla Cooper has been promoted to VP of analysis at Bright Power, a provider of energy and water management services for real estate owners and operators.

Phung Ngo-Burns is the new CFO at independent power producer and financier Catalyze. Catalyze is focused on transforming commercial real estate into more resilient and profitable assets. Ngo-Burns previously worked at NexTier Oilfield Solutions.

Lauren Randall joined Utilidata as VP of state policy and regulatory matters. Lauren formerly served as the director of policy and market development at Sunrun. Utilidata provides grid-edge software and machine-learning capabilities for smart meters. 

FlexGen Power Systems, an energy storage and software technology provider, has added Aruna Chandra as executive VP and general counsel. Before joining FlexGen, Chandra served as senior attorney at NextEra Energy Resources.

Lee Connor, previously with PowerFlex Systems, is now manager of renewable energy asset management at Meta.

Jessie Lund, formerly of RMI, is now lead project manager for truck and off-road at Calstart.

Felisa Vallejo has been promoted to program manager at Grid Alternatives, a nonprofit that installs solar power systems and provides job training for underserved communities.

As women join boards, organizations can expect to benefit

Catalyst, a nonprofit that champions women in leadership roles in business, recently compiled research on the benefits of gender-balanced boards. Here are some key takeaways from the report:

  • Adding just one additional woman to a company’s board, while keeping the board size unchanged, produces a return on investment of 8 to 13 basis points.
  • When women hold at least three seats on a board, this appears to have positive outcomes for corporate governance.
  • Of the 11 sectors studied, utilities showed the largest increase in percentage of companies (9%) with three or more women board directors, making it the sector most successful at reaching the level the report defines as a critical mass” of women on boards.

Numerous groups and companies in the energy sector have recently added women to their boards. 

The American Council on Renewable Energy, a nonprofit, announced that Meghan Schultz, executive VP of finance and capital markets at Invenergy, and Kristal Hansley, CEO and founder of WeSolar, have joined its board of directors.

Laura Bartsch, the VP of sales and marketing at Advanced Energy Economy, is joining the board of PowerOptions, the largest nonprofit energy consortium in New England.

Solid Power, a solid-state battery company that trades on public markets, added Lesa Roe to its board. Roe brings more than 35 years of executive leadership and engineering experience, including serving as second-in-command at NASA.

Dianne Martinez, chair at East Bay Community Energy and a member of the city council of Emeryville, California, is joining the board at Veloz, a nonprofit organization engaging in public awareness campaigns to overcome barriers to electrification.

Climatetech startup incubator Greentown Labs is adding four new directors to its board: 

An inspirational woman artist

Norway-based artist Karen Bit Vejles work involves cutting paper in huge, lace-like pictorial patterns known as psaligraphy,” the art of drawing or painting with scissors, often in silhouette form. Follow her on Instagram.

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Eric Wesoff is the editorial director at Canary Media.