Kayla Hale, Senior Program Manager, Energy – Global Business Operations @ Tesla
On the surface, Kayla is somewhat of an operations specialist. Over the last five years or so she has learned and grown in a variety of consulting/project management roles focused on strategy and operations. Now at Tesla, Kayla manages the B2B order-to-delivery workflow and system migrations for their energy products.
On a deeper level, something Kayla has always been passionate about is building sustainable communities — workplaces and organizations — helping people live more joyful and sustainable lives because it spreads to others and the planet. She has a dream of opening a fully sustainable (net zero carbon) café and community space in the Bay Area!
When she’s not in Fremont discussing solar and energy storage, Kayla can be found hiking local parks, playing flag football with SWFFL (SF Womxn’s Flag Football League), reading anything on Oprah’s Book Club list, or training for a triathlon. Kayla joined the WEN board in October 2019.
What is the educational and career path that led to your current career?
I graduated from Babson College — a small business school in the Boston area — in 2015 with a degree in Economics and Business Analytics. During my time there I was provided the opportunity to complete four internships in diverse roles ranging from human resources, financial planning, distribution operations, to analytics. Through these experiences, coupled with coursework, I found that my skills could best serve in an operational/process capacity, and following graduation started my career as a strategy consultant at IBM. I had always been interested in entering the sustainability space, and when a friend from Babson reached out about an open position on Tesla’s energy team it was an opportunity I could not refuse.
How did you become interested in environmental work?
At Babson I took several courses on environmental economic policy, sustainability, and global climate change. For my economics final paper, I researched and wrote on the European Union’s leading climate policy and ways that other countries globally could adapt and follow suit.
I have always tried to implement sustainable practices in my own life, but also wanted to be part of an organization providing widespread impact. Tesla’s mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy, and that is exactly what it is doing.
Tesla has generated 13.25 terawatt hours of solar energy for residential and commercial customers and delivered over 700,000 electric vehicles, reducing global CO2 emissions by more than four million metric tons. While there is still a ways to go, it’s an exciting time to be a part of the movement.
Discuss any mentors who have helped or inspired you to reach your aspirations.
I firmly believe that nothing is accomplished alone, and that every major achievement is backed by a powerhouse group of people that inspire, guide, and collaborate with you on your journey.
My relationship with Grace Morton, a friend from Babson who lives and breathes sustainability, has been pivotal for me. She has taught me an immeasurable amount about looking at the entire supply/value chain, how every product we consume is sourced, and the impact our plastic usage has if, for example, one billion people each use one straw every day.
In my own life she taught me how to replace single-use products with reusable and recyclable ones, how to grocery shop in a more conscious way, and how to conserve energy in my home. Grace was my connection to Tesla, and continues to be a mentor and close friend.