Paula Glover
President, Alliance to Save Energy

Saving energy is something generally seen as a good thing as a matter of public policy and business strategy. But for all its economic and environmental benefits, does saving energy get enough attention from policymakers, especially as a means of addressing climate change? And what more can be done to bring more of those savings to disadvantaged communities?

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless is joined by Paula Glover, the new president of the Alliance to Save Energy, a 43-year-old coalition of business, government, environmental and consumer leaders with a bipartisan reputation for advocating advances in federal energy policy.

Paula has more than 25 years of experience in the energy industry, including 15 years with electric and natural gas distribution companies. Prior to her new job at the Alliance to Save Energy, she was the president and CEO of the American Association of Blacks in Energy, a nonprofit association dedicated to ensuring that African Americans and other minorities have input in the development of energy policy and regulations.

Bill and Paula talked about energy efficiency as a matter of public policy over the years and the potential for more initiatives to save energy under the new Biden administration and Democrat-controlled Congress. Paula made clear that she thinks a lot more could be done to promote energy efficiency as an effective response to climate change and a lucrative source of jobs for those displaced by the transition to cleaner energy.

She also emphasizes the importance of providing underserved populations and people of color with greater access to what she sees as the enormous economic opportunities of energy efficiency.

 

Transcript

[0:00:00]
Bill Loveless:  Hello, and welcome to Columbia Energy Exchange, a weekly podcast from the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University.  From Washington, I'm Bill Loveless.  Saving energy is something that most of us agree is a good thing as a matter of public policy and business strategy, but for all its economic and environmental benefits does saving energy get enough attention from policymakers, especially as a means of addressing climate change and what more can be done to bring more of those savings to disadvantaged communities?

To get some answers I reached out to Paula Glover.  The new President of the Alliance to Save Energy, a 43-year-old coalition of business, government, environmental and consumer leaders with a bipartisan reputation for advocating advances in Federal Energy Policy.

Paula has more than 25 years of experience in the energy industry, including 15 years with electric and natural gas distribution companies.  Prior to her new job at the Alliance to Save Energy she was the President and CEO of the American Association of Blacks in Energy, a nonprofit association dedicated to ensuring that African-Americans and other minorities have input in the development of energy policy and regulations.  We talked about energy efficiency as a matter of public policy over the years, and the potential for more initiatives to save energy under the new Biden administration and Democrat controlled Congress.

Paula made clear that she thinks up a lot more could be done to promote energy efficiency as an effective response to climate change and to lucrative source of jobs for those displaced by the transition to cleaner energy.  She also emphasizes the importance of providing underserved populations and people of color with greater access to what she sees as the enormous economic opportunities of energy efficiency.  Well, here's our conversation.  I hope you enjoy it.  Paula Glover, welcome to Columbia Energy Exchange.

[0:01:57]
Paula Glover:  Thank you so much for having me.

[0:01:57]
Bill Loveless:  Well, we’re delighted to have you and congratulations on your new job at the Alliance to Save Energy.

[0:02:03]
Paula Glover:  Thank you, very exciting.

[0:02:05]
Bill Loveless:  Yeah, it is very exciting and a very exciting time with all that's going on.  We'll look forward to talking about that and some of your views on what's taking place right now in Washington and across the country but before we do, I always like to start by giving our audience a sense of the guest, help them get acquainted with the guest a little bit.  You've spent more than 25 years in the Energy Industry and now find yourself head of this very influential coalition of business government environment and consumer leaders who advocate for Federal Energy Policy and as we say, it's happening at a particularly significant moment, tell us about your career path and how it brought you here?

[0:02:49]
Paula Glover:  Sure.  So, I actually started my career working for a small gas utility in Connecticut and so I've spent a good portion of my career working in utility companies on the gas side, as well as electric utilities, in a whole, lots of different roles from community outreach to economic development, to regulatory and government affairs.  And I always kind of describe it as the consistency for me is that I've always had an outward facing job.  I'm always been the person who's been advocating or educating on behalf of my organization to a particular audience and if that's community leaders, government officials, legislators, regulators, it's the same skill set, but the audience is very much different.  And so that's really what I did in the utility sector.  I spent a little bit of time in nonprofit work and then I was a CEO of another association, another nonprofit called the American Association of Blacks in Energy, which was also focused on public policy, but really the impact of energy policy on communities of color, which is different than what the Alliance is, is doing but I think prepared me for the work that I have ahead of me at the Alliance.

[0:03:59]
Bill Loveless:  Yeah, and of course Alliance has been around for a while.  It was founded back in 1977 by Senators Charles Percy, a Republican and Hubert Humphrey Democrat from Minnesota and that would follow the oil embargoes of the 1970’s; organization, well known for its sort of bipartisan approach.  You have Senators from the Republican and Democratic parties now as a honorary co-chairs of your of your organization.  

Well, you know, saving energy has always been a popular idea with the public and policymakers and even with distributors of natural gas and electricity in recent years, although its impact hasn't been widely understood.  But as you start your new job you -- I was reading a column recently you wrote in Business Insider where you said energy efficiency has lost its shine.  What did you mean by that?

[0:04:57]
Paula Glover:  What I meant by that is that I think if we've had such great conversations around the transition, the energy industry transitions.  The energy transition and we don't talk about energy efficiency nearly enough and oftentimes we have those conversations and don't talk about energy efficiency at all, and yet I would suggest that the only way we're really going to get to this new energy transition that we want is really through utilizing energy efficiency.

We're talking about right at a very high level, how do we almost deconstruct or reconstruct kind of how we do business in energy?  What is the right utility construct?  What's the right regulatory construct?  How do we or do we not need oil and natural gas and fossil fuels to kind of continue to improve our quality of life?  Allow us to have a strong manufacturing base and to continue to grow that base for manufacturers and businesses, but all of that really does require, I think, efficiency, if we start to talk about how are we going to decarbonize?  How are we going to really address even concerns around environmental justice?

And so what I was saying is essentially we’re doing ourselves collectively a disservice, if we do not think about energy efficiency first in these discussions and what is it that and what energy efficiency can bring to not only lessen the cost to consumers, but quite frankly, lessen the strain on our grid in some cases and just move us in the direction that we want to go in for our policymakers.

[0:06:33]
Bill Loveless:  Yeah, it’s a one in reading that piece, I think one thing that stood out to me was how, you know, progress may have slipped or even reversed and to some extent or in certain ways you referred to a you said, unfortunately we're moving in the wrong direction, cited a item in the -- from the international energy agency that said global energy intensity improvements have been declining since 2015 and the agency projected that the COVID-19 pandemic will exacerbate that trend with energy investments dropping in 2020 and energy intensity gains continuing to fall.  I guess I've thought about how much energy efficiency has had an impact probably over the past 30 years, hadn't really thought about maybe things were slipping a little in more recent years?

[0:07:26]
Paula Glover:  Yeah.  I think part of that is, you know, and certainly where we are today in terms of the pandemic is just exacerbating a problem that already existed and we're just all seeing it and I think when I wrote that article, what I was thinking about is as we look at what the data tells us, and then the situation that we're in, where everybody is home, and so we are all using more energy in our homes, we're more energy intense in terms of how we use it and how much we actually more we rely upon it and yet we're still not talking about and paying attention to how do we use less by doing more?

And we're starting to see, I think across the country, certainly in some jurisdictions utility companies who are doubling down on their energy efficiency investments but we're still very limited, I think and I don't know that this is the sector just effectors problem, but I do think that we haven't paid enough attention to how do we make sure that everybody has access to it?  We have lots of great, tremendous, I think, energy efficiency programs.

We still have largely many communities, particularly low-income communities who are actually left out of those programs for a whole host of reasons, and that does impact right, our energy intensity when we're ignoring groups of people, even if it's not purposely if they are not a part of these solutions and they're not able to participate then our success is actually kind of a halfway success.

[0:08:53]
Bill Loveless:  Yeah, and I want to talk a bit more in a moment about environmental justice because that's a, you know, it's a topic that deservedly is getting much more attention today than it has in the past, but what -- there have been a number of initiatives in the federal government to support energy efficiency over the years, tax incentives, efficiency standards for appliances and for fuel and automobiles, what's worked well so far and what's missing going forward?

[0:09:22]
Paula Glover:  I think many of those things, all of those things work well when they're instituted well.  I think we need more of it, right?  We need certainly probably more tax incentives and we probably need some more consistency and some more assuredness around tax incentives so that we know they're going to last a long time.  I think the programs that we have again our great programs, Energy Star being one of them, right?  That's a great energy efficiency program, but the truth of the matter is there are a lot of people who cannot afford to buy an Energy Star appliance because they don't already have it and sometimes those incentives that we have in place don't necessarily meet the needs of certain populations of our communities and so an example I would use is early on in my career, a company that I worked for, we had a refrigerator swap program and so we would reimburse customers, I think, seven or $800 and this is the early nineties, if they would buy a new refrigerator and then we would pay them right, give them the money towards that refrigerator after they purchased.  Great program, the problem was that many of our customers didn't have $700 to spend outright on the front end to get the refrigerator and if they did, they certainly didn't have the time that it would take just because we're a large company in processing that check and reimbursing them the money.

And those kinds of little things become a big deal for a lot of customers and so when I talk about like, how do we improve the access?  What I'm talking about is how do we make those tweaks in those types of programs.  Another example might be if you have an energy efficiency program, that's focused on say very poor communities, low moderate communities and households and not people who are renters, people who are homeowners, right?

Because there's another issue that we have around individuals who are renters and how do you reach landlords and convince them to make an investment in a building for people, when they're not living there but I think, you know, so that that's like this other issue that we have and so and forth. So tax incentives would be another one.  Tax incentives work for some consumers, for a lot consumers, a tax incentive again, the timing of it is such that if I have to wait until I file my taxes before I'm actually going to get this money back as a credit, for example, but a lot of customers that just doesn't work for them.

And so I, has I think about my role at the Alliance and as I think about energy efficiency, what I'm challenging us as an industry to think about is how do we open up the aperture a little bit so that we can bring more people in and how do we adjust our programming a little bit?  It's not necessarily a big shift but how do we shift a little bit so that we are addressing the needs of other people?  And I apologize because I lost my train of thought but if I think about very low income consumers who may not have housing that can adopt the measures that we want, right?

We, in many places have a situation where it's not that companies don't want to make the investment, but I as Paula Glover for this sample, as a customer may not have a home who can support that investment.  I don't have a roof that's going to work.  I don't have proper insulation; the foundation of my home is not, whatever those issues are.  Then I'm kind of stuck because the organization who wants to help me can't help me because I don't have the basics and because I am a low- moderate-income consumer, I actually don't have the money to make that investment in myself and so this person who actually could use our services the most, that savings would mean the most to them can’t, right can't participate, can't doesn't have access to it because there are these other outside issues.  And so, you know, as we talk about even equity and energy, all of this stuff now becomes connected with one another but I still think that energy efficiency is should be our first step.

[0:13:07]
Bill Loveless:  Well, you had the Alliance recently released its 2021 policy agenda.  What are some elements of that agenda that get at some of these needs in Federal Policy that you outlined?

[0:13:23]
Paula Glover:  Well, one of them I think is right, is what we have the Alliance has had and will continue to have, I think, a strong focus on buildings and improvement on buildings.  Buildings release a great deal of carbon and so as a matter of climate change, our ability to make buildings more efficient and reduce the amount of carbon that they emit is a great thing but the other thing about buildings in particularly if we talk about government buildings, be it schools, everyone benefits anyone in the community benefits from that, and so that's the kind of stuff at the Alliance that we are always kind of promoting and advocating for, because we understand that buildings has a huge impact and if you don't keep it on policymakers radar, we tend to forget that buildings has a place in the climate change conversation.

The Alliance has, is working on a new bill on that has a small business grant, right?  So, for small businesses who want to invest in energy efficiency a grant program through the federal government that could do kind of a matching grant program for those small businesses and therefore maybe increasing the, not only the investment in that building, but for some small businesses that may be did they get something at low to no cost and in the case of a small business, again the connection isn't just about their savings, right?  That savings for small businesses in and of itself is important, but it also helps a small business grow, right?  That is money that someone can re-invest in their business that may allow them to do something more innovative with their business when you're able to save that kind of significant cost.

So that's something that at the Alliance we are focused on and then the tax incentive that have existed continue to exist the standards around energy star, building codes those are all things that we at the Alliance care very, very deeply about.  But as you started, we also are caring about solutions that we believe we can get bipartisan support for, and in this particular political climate that is also increasingly more important, and that means that at the Alliance our members in our coalition, we're all thinking creatively about what are the right solutions and we're -- we have to stretch ourselves.  I mean, I've been in this role a month and a half, and I commend my board for allowing me to throw so many ideas on the wall very early on, and to be willing to entertain that, but also to think about how do we maybe do a little bit more, or what's the compromising point for us in all of this?  Because the administration has identified some other priorities that we're going to have to consider environmental justice and equity being two of them.

[0:15:55]
Bill Loveless:  You speak of bipartisan.  I mean, there was a massive pandemic relief bill passed by Congress in December that contained provisions in an energy package that was sponsored by Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Rob Portman, two honorary co-chairs, as I understanded of the Alliance’s board and they included authorization of the Federal Energy Management Program and the Weatherization Assistance Program and measures to update federal building, energy and water requirements, but these provisions while hardly controversial had been percolating around Congress for several years.  Was that a sign that the inclusion of those of that energy measure in this bigger bill, was that sign that bipartisan agreement on Capitol Hill is possible on energy, on climate?

[0:16:46]
Paula Glover:  I just think.  I mean, I think bipartisan agreement on energy has always really been packed -- has always been possible even if we haven't seen it.  Energy tends to be something that you can get a broad range of bipartisan agreement on.  There are certainly issues within that energy framework that different members may have some problems with, and that could be everything from like, how do you address climate change in a way that's reasonable, what's the impact on jobs and the economy for some of the things that we want to do in greening our economy, that sort of thing, but I do think that, you know, that's absolutely a signal and the President quite frankly has sent a lot of strong signals that he's interested in bipartisanship.

The voters have sent some signals just based on the makeup of the Senate and the House to some extent that bipartisanship is absolutely the way we're going to get there.  And that just means that we all have to double down and work more with one another, particularly those that we may disagree with to find the right types of solutions, to bring everybody along, to get all members to want to support the work and what we're trying to accomplish and at least for the Alliance, we're very, very lucky that we do have this honorary board that is bipartisan in nature.

I mean, we do at the Alliance really have a perspective that says that we are supporting bipartisan solutions and we work very hard to find them.  Even in a partisan environment that's not our approach as in organization.

[0:18:12]
Bill Loveless:  What would be the example of some policy or change in policy or whatever that the Alliance would advocate that would attract that sort of bipartisan support?

[0:18:24]
Paula Glover:  You know, I don't know that I could stick to a specific policy, but what I will say is that I think the conversation around equity and environmental justice is actually one that you could get there because there, in some way, when you read the newspapers and the arguments on either side, there are actually two sides of the same exact coin.  On one side, you have people saying, we need to address climate change, particularly for those communities that are most hurt by them and we need to do it now and we need to do it fast, and it is a matter of public health and a lot of other things.

And on the other side, you have a group of people who say yes, but we also need to deal with the economics and we need to not think lightly, I think, of sectors of our industry oil and natural gas, for example, who do provide great economic benefit to a whole host of people around this country and that argument, if it's way on the other side would say, well, don't, so don't do anything about the environmental stuff, because if you do stuff about environmental stuff, that means you're going to hurt jobs and if you do something to keep jobs, then you're going to hurt the environment.

I actually don't believe either one of those things are true, and I think that this moment gives us a great opportunity to bring in those on the environmental side, as well as those who are on the other side, and let's talk about how we're going to get there and how do we get to some really smart solutions and I, again, I'll start, you know, as I started energy efficiency, I believe has a really big seat at that table, but we are also, I think in a moment of time within administration and others, who've been very clear that they want to see us working together.

They want to be able to work with their colleagues, and I think as an industry, we can be a demonstration of that when we start to work with others and come up with solutions because we need all of it.  We need clean air, clean water, less pollution, we also need jobs and small business growth.  We need all of that, right?  Not one of those things is not more important than the other.  So, we've got to figure out how we're going to get all that done.

[0:20:24]
Bill Loveless:  You mentioned jobs, and I know you've said in recent weeks that that's an important, a big concern of yours that there's a need for investments to train and connect low income and underserved populations with jobs while giving minority owned businesses a fair shot at some of this work?

[0:20:42]
Paula Glover:  I feel very strongly that's a huge opportunity for us, and a lot of our members at the Alliance are doing that already, a lot of our members of the Alliance are already and have been focused on those communities for really long time and so what I'm asking for is for more of us to kind of do what some of our colleagues are doing.  It is absolutely good for our business and all of our businesses and our economy and our environment, all of those things matter and that's the way to get there.

[0:21:11]
Bill Loveless:  Some of these proposals you've outlined and that are included in the Alliance’s agenda things that you feel could be done by Congress and the administration this year, but you also said you were eager to work with lawmakers in a bipartisan way to develop an economy wide carbon policy that recognizes the cost of climate change and the values and benefits of energy efficiency.  What do you mean by an economy wide carbon policy?

[0:21:42]
Paula Glover:  What I mean is that we should be talking about the energy sector, but we need to be talking about other sectors as well, and so I don't know if the solution is a clean energy standard, is it a price on carbon?  I'm not sure what the right answer I'd be a fool to tell you that I knew exactly what the right answer is.  I don't know what it is, but I do think that this is the discussion that we need to be having, and it cannot just be focused on energy.

We have to be thinking about transportation.  We have to be thinking about agriculture.  We have to be thinking about all of these things, particularly as it relates to carbon manufacturing, and then figuring out what the right solution is, what we're learning, right, is that all of this work is so these not work, but all of these solutions are incredibly nuanced.

I mean, so if you look at what happened in California, where they did kind of establish a price on carbon, it didn't necessarily for certainly for some environmental organizations didn't solve the environmental problem, right.  It gave what they felt was that it gave companies and out they could buy RECs or whatever they needed, but still do what they were doing in terms of the manufacturing whatever it is that they were doing with their own facilities.

And so we got to consider what's the right, how do you get there?  Is it a price on carbon?  I don't know.  Maybe it is maybe in some communities that works in some it doesn’t.  Is it a clean energy standard?  I don't know.  The thing about environmental justice, which is so interesting is that, you know, environmental justice says we must consider the environmental benefits as well as the causes, right?

The good stuff that happens and the bad stuff that happens.  We have to take both of those things into account and I would suggest that you also have to think about what the economic opportunities are, but also what are the economic hits?  In some communities, it is going to be absolutely important that we may have to shut down, for example, a coal plant.  That may absolutely be what the right response is.  That does not mean that there's not an economic impact and that does not mean that we shouldn't be planning for that impact, when and if that happens.  It can't just be, you know, we're doing this for the environment, and we're not thinking about all the other ways that a particular facility may contribute to a community, particularly economically, and not at least think about what's the next step.

[0:24:04]
Bill Loveless:  And that match may be difficult to make, right?  When something closes, when a coal power plant closes in an area that's struggling and economic West Virginia, some other part of coal country and you've noted that, and I forgot the figures off hand here, but that the efficiency, the energy efficiency business, all the elements of it represent more jobs than solar?

[0:24:33]
Paula Glover:  Three million to over and the thing it's in two to three million jobs in energy efficiency.

[0:24:37]
Bill Loveless:  Even more than I think he said, well, it's solar and solar and wind combined.  Was that what you said?

[0:24:41]
Paula Glover:  Absolutely.

[0:24:43]
Bill Loveless:  So they're there, but the jobs, and I realize this would probably gets beyond your responsibility for the Alliance to Save Energy, but nevertheless, it seems important that the, -- those jobs may not be where the coal plant shut down somehow you need to match those?  

[0:24:56]
Paula Glover:  Yeah, but those jobs, I think I would suggest the energy efficiency jobs are probably available anywhere, or they could be available anywhere, wherever people are or businesses there's probably that opportunity.

[0:25:05]
Bill Loveless:  Because they’re what kind of jobs?

[0:25:08]
Paula Glover:  So, many of them they're not low wage jobs, right?  Some of them are construction type jobs.  They may be HVAC jobs.  Then many of them do require like some sort of touch point with people.  So, the pandemic has been incredibly hard for many energy efficiency service providers because you can't go into people's homes, right because it's, you know, because we're in the middle of a pandemic and that has absolutely changed the way that these companies are able to do business if they are able to do business certainly for the last year.  But they are, you know, I think they are so enthusiastic about let's get started and one of the things that we've been talking about at the Alliance and sharing with the administration is that as you think about economic recovery, please don't forget about economic recovery and what energy efficiency can do as part of that economic recovery.

On the other side, you know, those jobs are big, we lost what over 300,000 jobs, that's a big deal.  That's a lot of people out of work.  Those are a lot of small businesses that are suffering and at the same time, we have these tremendous goals around energy transition and as I started from beginning, I believe energy efficiency is that bridge to this energy transition, which means there's an opportunity for a huge growth around energy efficiency if we're paying attention to it and in my job is to get the administration, I think to think about energy efficiency in that way and see the opportunities that we bring to the table.

[0:26:32]
Bill Loveless:  You think they're thinking about it enough in that way?

[0:26:34]
Paula Glover:  I do think that they're thinking about it as they've begun to build out people and you know made some early appointments, I do think that they're starting to think about it that way, but we certainly have a lot more, I do a lot more, I need to do to elevate that messaging.

[0:26:50]
Bill Loveless:  You spent some 15 years working for electric and gas distribution companies including that entry-level job taking payments from customers in Connecticut.  That's given you inside perspective on how utilities operate and saving energy is built into their business models now, increasingly.  So, what should we expect of them as the need to address climate change grows more urgent?

[0:27:21]
Paula Glover:  You know, you're starting to see a lot of utilities I think most are really understanding very fully that we have to address climate change and many utility companies across the country have very strict goals and big goals about how they're going to decarbonize.  Some utility companies have NetZero goals where they're saying, we're going to do generation at zero.  We're not going to have an impact.  So utilities, I think are really leaning in.

As it relates to energy efficiency we're also seeing more utility companies who are thinking about what is universal access to energy efficiency, not only what does it mean, but what does that actually look like?  And how do they now better serve every single customer in their jurisdiction, particularly those who are the most difficult to serve the most hardest for them to reach for whatever whole host of reasons and so utility companies are starting to lean on that but they need tools and they're going to need support in the Alliance, I think can help you to at least think about how do you lean in given all of the other priorities that our policymakers have at the state level, as well as the federal level.

And I think President Biden and his administration have really sent some signals about the things that are important to them in terms of energy and a clean energy economy, but we also have members of Congress on the Democratic and the Republican side who have also sent some clear signals about what's important to them, and last week, as an example the bipartisan policy center had an event that, where they interviewed Senator Joe Manchin.  He was very clear that jobs and the economic, the economy is a big deal to him, and so I would today so those organizations and companies who are doing business in West Virginia, you need to be talking to him about what are the economic benefits of what you're trying to do, because that is important to him because he has a lot of people in his -- a lot of his constituents who are struggling.

We at the Alliance and our coalition of members, there's something we can do about that.  We have a role that we can play in that and I think it's our job to provide that kind of messaging and to share with people how it is that our solutions actually meet their needs and their priorities.

[0:29:35]
Bill Loveless:  You know, speaking of industry there's more talk and as there should be of the need for diversity in the various energy industries, and it's something you’ve spoken out on, and perhaps you did more so in your previous job when you were the head of the American Association of Blacks in Energy, but I'm recalling last year amid the demonstrations following the police officers killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, that oil majors like ExxonMobile, Chevron, BP, The Trade Association, American Petroleum Institute, all issued statements condemning racism, and as did leaders of the wind and solar energy industries but some said that wasn't enough and that particularly from the oil and gas industry, which has been criticized by some, for not being all that diverse when it comes to women and minorities.  You told Politico last June, that when you were president of the Association of Blacks and Energy, that “Those who have statements have good statements, but from where I sit, what we want to know is what happens after your statement?”  What has happened in these industries since then?

[0:30:42]
Paula Glover:  So, it’s tends on a, it depends on the industry, depends on the company, depends on who you talk to.  What I was suggesting in that statement, and I still believe that wholeheartedly, right, is that we as an industry have an opportunity to do a lot more, as it relates to diversity, equity and inclusion.  Oil, natural gas has an opportunity to do a lot more, but I quite frankly we all have a lot to do.  If you look at the numbers of -- in terms of representation of people, of color across the sector, clean energy oil, natural gas, fossil fuels, none of us are doing great.  Some are doing better than others, but no, one's doing great and great meaning if you have 12% of the population of African-Americans in the US workforce, is that represented in our sector.  It's not, it's not even close.

So, what I was saying is that the statement is good, but what's next?  What are you as an individual organization doing not only to bring more diverse people into your organization because that's one piece of it, but what are you doing with those diverse individuals who work in your companies now?  How are we promoting people?  How are we creating pipelines for advancement?  Have we thought about how do we make sure we have diverse leadership teams?  Have we thought about how do we have diverse people at the board level?  Have we talked about how do we spend our dollars?  And what type, who are the vendors that we spend our dollars with?  And are we asking our vendors to be a reflection of our own organizational values around on diversity, equity and inclusion, if we have those values.

I think companies should be thinking about where are we are recruiting our young people and are we making sure that we offer internships and externships and co-ops that those, that there are diverse students in that talent pool.  There's something to do right at every single level and so my comments were not meant to actually embarrass any one particular piece of the sector.  My comments were to say, even those of us who are doing great have more that we can do.  Even all, even those of us who are doing great.

[0:32:44]
Bill Loveless:  And changing culture too, you spoke of that.

[0:32:46]
Paula Glover:  And changing the organizational culture, which is really a lot of times the most difficult, in my opinion the first step, but also the hardest step, right?  How do you create an environment where people who have not felt welcomed and will all of a sudden feel welcome?

[0:33:00]
Bill Loveless:  Yeah, and you didn’t always feel welcome, right?  I mean, throughout your career in private sector?

[0:33:04]
Paula Glover:  No, I didn't always feel welcome but I also had, and I was lucky I had -- even when I didn't feel welcoming and necessarily the organization, I always had great mentors and sometimes sponsors and absolutely colleagues who helped me stick it out.  But I have a lot of colleagues who didn't stick it out because they were not as lucky as I was and I think that's a loss to our business, that talent that went somewhere else.

[0:33:27]
Bill Loveless:  But now you're a mentor of a different sort in Washington with a new organization and a big agenda.  How are you feeling about that going forward?  Are you, is it a pretty optimistic?  Is it –

[0:33:36]
Paula Glover:  I am optimistic and overwhelmed and excited at the same time and incredibly terrified.  I'm optimistic because I get to work with really a tremendous team of people at the Alliance.  I have a great board.  The coalition is fantastic and the members of the Alliance team are just top notch.  I'm overwhelmed because it's just a whole heck of a lot for me to learn and at the same time, there's a whole heck of a lot for me to do, but I am excited because I see what the possible is.  And I believe that I'm surrounded by people who also see that possibility and so we're going to be doubling down and working really, really, really, really hard and maybe having some small wins and big parties for the small wins, but I think at the end of the day, months to years from now, we'll be proud of what we've been doing.

[0:34:28]
Bill Loveless:  Well, it’s always good to see fresh faces and new ideas among thought leaders in Washington.  Paula Glover, thanks for joining us on Columbia Energy Exchange.

[0:34:37]
Paula Glover:  Thank you so much for having.  I appreciate it.

[0:34:39]
Bill Loveless:  And for more on Columbia Energy Exchange and the Center on Global Energy Policy, go to our webpage at energypolicy.columbia.edu, or find us on social media @ColumbiaUEnergy and if you have a minute, give us a rating and leave a comment on your favorite podcast platform.  For Columbia Energy Exchange, I'm Bill Loveless.  We'll be back again next week with another conversation.