Justin and I met in 2010 when our two organizations (Dalberg for me and Sierra Club for him) shared an office in Mumbai, India. We were both young and green and totally overwhelmed by our new environment. Needless to say we learned a lot. During his time at the Sierra Club Justin’s roles included lobbying, media relations, policy research, and advocacy, demonstrating just how many different ways one can engage with clean energy and climate change. Today he continues his mission as a Program Officer for Climate and Energy with the Packard Foundation. I am sure you will find much to learn from his experience. Enjoy!
Name, Title and Organization
Justin Guay, Program Officer, Climate and Energy, Packard Foundation
Educational Background (e.g., college, major, any graduate school or additional certifications)
B.A. marketing; M.A. international development
How would you describe what you do in your current role?
Manage a portfolio of grant investments seeking to transition the world away from fossil fuels to clean energy.
Why did you first want to work in cleantech?
Because climate change is the defining issue of our time and cleantech is the solution.
What are your two favorite aspects of your job?
Getting to meet people who change the world on a daily basis. Adding value by adding money!
If you were interviewing someone to replace you in your role, what should they focus on demonstrating in the interview to give themselves an advantage?
The ability to demonstrate systems thinking and a clear understanding of the political economy of energy.
To perform your job well, what is the most necessary skill or personality characteristic, and why?
Networking, networking, networking…
What is the one bit of advice you would offer a young person hoping to break into cleantech?
It’s a big world. Find a specialty.
What is something you have learned in your job that surprised you?
That there is very little focus or investment going into perhaps the most important cleantech we could develop – carbon removal for the giant superfund site in the sky.
Other than the focus of your work, which realm (technology, geography, or other) of cleantech is particularly interesting to you right now and why?
The nexus of financial inclusion, distributed generation, and communications technology in emerging markets. The other one is carbon removal – it’s basically 1970s solar – we haven’t even gotten started.
If you could be compensated for your work with something other than a paycheck, what would it be?