In Spotlights

A proud born and bred San Franciscan, Jenny works for ABAG as the Manager for the Bay Area Regional Energy Network (BayREN), a collaboration of the nine Bay Area counties. Her duties include participating in regulatory proceedings and collaborating with local government members. She is the co-chair of the statewide Energy Upgrade California, Home Upgrade working group. A graduate of UC Santa Barbara and Catholic University law school, Jenny practiced plaintiff side civil litigation until shifting her career focus. She is actively involved with environmental groups and in her (overscheduled) children’s’ activities, including sitting on the Executive Board of the Oakland Technical High School PTSA.

How did you become involved in your current career?

After practicing law for 20 years, I realized that I lacked professional passion. A lot of soul searching and networking led me to turn my focus to finding something related to the environment. So, with two kids, a husband and a full time law job, I went back to school to study sustainable management. Following that, I worked for several years building up my environmental experience, before I landed my current position.

What environmental issues are of most concern to you?

We live in a scary time. Growing up in San Francisco, I remember living through a drought in the ‘70’s. But that was nothing like what we are experiencing now. Water scarcity is really of concern to me.

What do you think are some challenges and opportunities facing women in the environmental movement today?

The sad reality is that the top positions in our industry (like most others) continue to be held by mostly men. I work with a lot of women in energy, but when I look at the executive team and board make up of their organizations, it is usually all or the majority male. There are great women working in this field. The top doors must be opened wider to let us in!

What are your suggestions on how WEN members can become more involved in your sector and the environmental movement?

Stay current on the issues, regulations and players since the terrain is bumpy and ever changing. Don’t underestimate the power of networking. I would never have even heard about my current job if it wasn’t for my great network.