Meghan manages PG&E’s energy efficiency strategy and policy initiatives. Her team leads efforts to shape California’s energy efficiency policy and regulatory environment to enable innovative, customer-focused programs that inspire and empower PG&E customers to eliminate unnecessary energy use, and drive strategic EE program design and implementation to meet the state’s aggressive EE and GHG goals. She has over 10 years of experience in the energy industry, having started her energy career in facilitation and public involvement for hydroelectric relicensing projects. She holds a B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and a Masters from the Hatfield School of Government. Meghan is on the board of the Women Energy Associates.
How did you become involved in your current career?
My path to energy was non-traditional, for which I am extremely grateful. It allows me to bring a diverse perspective to the many fun, interesting, and sometimes challenging, EE issues we tackle in California. After study French, History and Theater in North Carolina, I was on my way to Hollywood to produce blockbuster romantic comedies (no, I’m not joking!). I happened to make a pit stop to visit a best friend in Oregon where I met an amazing professor, and later mentor, who offered me an opportunity to study and work in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam on the Tan Hoa Lo Gom Canal Restoration project. From there, I headed south to San Francisco, because who can resist San Francisco? I was young, and knew the world was my oyster! After several stints at environmental and energy consulting firms, I felt a natural draw to PG&E – it’s here that I’ve felt I’ve made the biggest impact in energy efficiency. In California, monumental changes are occurring in energy efficiency, and I’m right at the forefront. Plus, you can have almost any job of which you’ve dreamed at a utility. I’ll get around to the movies at some point, but probably shift my focus to environmentally-focused documentaries…
What environmental issues are of most concern to you?
Climate change and environmental justice. We are at the precipice of something big, a turning point. It’s a very exciting time not just in California, but nationally and internationally as well.
What do you think are some challenges and opportunities facing women in the environmental movement today?
My generation is so fortunate to have a plethora of strong women mentors, advocates, and role models in this field. Seek these ladies out. But don’t discount the gentlemen – they can make great mentors too. Many have daughters, and will see them in you and thus can actually be strong advocates for you. Something I still find troubling though, even after all of the publicity of Sheryl Sandberg’s book – I still see too many opportunities for more women to “lean in.” When Sheryl urges us to sit at the table, she means that literally. Too often I see young women go sit in the corner when there are plenty of seats left at the table. Also, for those of us who find ourselves in a technical field with no real technical background – don’t be afraid, embrace it. Ask as many questions as you need to. I guarantee many people, men and women alike, have the same questions and will be grateful!
What are your suggestions on how WEN members can become more involved in your sector and the environmental movement?
“Meet new friends but keep the old…” This adage has become increasingly relevant to me as I progress in my career. It’s amazing how former colleagues, managers, schoolmates, et al. will magically reappear in your life when you most need them and least expect it, so use them to your advantage. Say you’re interested in learning more about energy efficiency and see someone you used to know on LinkedIn that has a cool job in that. Reach out to them, ask them what they do, who they know etc. Don’t be shy! Chances are they will be thrilled to hear from you and want to play match-maker. This also means don’t burn bridges! This is critical in today’s well-connected world.
There’s so much to be done and need for all sorts of skills and expertise, and we in the energy efficiency community welcome you with open arms!