Growth and change in Fresh Energy leadership 

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Fresh Energy Welcome Wall

The urgency of action on climate has never been stronger, and it is clear that Minnesota and the Midwest have a central role in speeding movement to a just, carbon-free economy. In our 30-year history, Fresh Energy has grown its capacity and budget to shape progress at the scale of the climate change challenge.

In this moment, Fresh Energy is making some important changes to ensure we are prepared for growth and poised to expand equitable, transformative action.

sarah clark
Sarah Clark, Deputy Executive Director

First, we want to share news of a departure that is sparking some internal changes. Since 2013, Fresh Energy Deputy Executive Director Sarah Clark has been a key leader in our growth and strategy. Much of Fresh Energy’s vitality today has Sarah’s fingerprints on it, from her leadership of our 2020 strategy planning process to her development of programs and philanthropic relationships that have powered our growth over the past nine years, to her active mentorship and coaching of many of our senior staff. Sarah currently oversees the development, communications, and programmatic elements of our organization. In June 2022, Sarah will be leaving her full-time role at Fresh Energy and launching a new multi-generational consulting firm to support organizations in communications, development, and management initiatives.

Fresh Energy is using this leadership change to restructure, positioning us to continue building our capacity in this decisive decade for action on climate.

Julia Olmstead is joining the Fresh Energy team in the new position of Senior Lead, Philanthropy. A former McKnight Foundation program officer with environmental expertise, Julia will be continuing and expanding our successful efforts to engage donors from across the country in game-changing action on climate in the Midwest.

Our programmatic leadership is also undergoing exciting change. Eight-year leader Allen Gleckner is stepping into the new role of Executive Lead, Policy and Programs. Margaret Cherne-Hendrick, who has long led massive growth in our work to decarbonize the economy beyond the power sector, will be Senior Lead, Innovation and Impact, continuing to strategically expand the breadth and depth of our work on crucial new initiatives. Justin Fay is expanding his role, moving to Senior Lead, Public Affairs and Advocacy where he will continue to steer our local, state, and federal government initiatives as well as growing our public outreach. Allen, Margaret, and Justin, along with Anjali Bains, Lead Director, Energy Access and Equity, and Executive Director Michael Noble comprise our Imperative Team that shapes programs across the organization.

Jo Olson is being promoted to Senior Director of Communications and Isabel Ricker is taking on new leadership as Director, Clean Electricity. 

Through this period of change and moving forward I am pleased to work shoulder-to-shoulder with our Executive Lead, Organizational Health Mat Krisetya. Our 30-person staff is stronger than it has ever been and I am impressed every day by the talent and commitment of the people across our organization. We’re also excited to be collaborating with Minnesota-based Team Dynamics over the next year on staff workshops, training, and implementation focused on taking a thoughtful and inclusive approach to internal culture.

Transitioning to clean energy is an extremely dynamic process. As we bid farewell to a trusted teammate, we are welcoming new staff and continuing to make good on our commitment to pulling the highest levers for progress.